Employees expect more from employers than generous wages. They sacrifice many hours of their lives to earn each paycheck and have trust that the company they work for always looks out for each employee's best interests. As an employer, keeping your mobile employees safe is one of the most important aspects of your job.
While most employees will already have a lot of driving experience, ensuring each driver's safety is ultimately the responsibility of the employer. In addition, your experienced mobile workforce should be encouraged to share driving tips with new starters.Outlined below are some top tips you can follow to keep not only your drivers safe but also everyone they encounter on the road.
Hire The Best People
Hiring is often one of the most difficult tasks. Perfect employees don't come along too often and it takes a lot of work to filter out bad applicants. As an employer, each new hire is a risk. Some estimates predict the price of a bad hiring decision to be equal to almost one third of the position's annual wage. Of course, a bad employee can harm a business in other ways besides financially. A bad employee can waste management time, impact the productivity of co-workers, alienate customers, and damage a company's reputation.
Before hiring a new driver, make sure you carry out extensive background checks into their driving record and on-the-road experience. Contact past employers and investigate any complaints filed against the applicant. Make sure the applicant understands the role's requirements, has driven the type of vehicle needed for the job before, and that they value safety above everything else.
Invest In Staff Training
Each job is different and often what a driver learned in a past position doesn't translate to your company's requirements. However, with good training, most new hires will quickly be able to perform well in their new role.
A great way to train new hires is to have an internal training document and certification program. Once a driver completes the program, you will know they have the aptitude for your company and are sufficiently qualified for the job. Furthermore, you should invest in continual driver safety training for all employees to ensure they always adhere to standards and keep their skills up to date. Some business owners have seen very positive responses to offering student loan payoff assistance as well.
Provide The Right Equipment
Even your best drivers will be unable to perform well if you fail to provide well-maintained vehicles. The employer has a legal responsibility to regularly check and service each vehicle to ensure its always in top condition and safe to operate. As well as performing routine vehicle maintenance, employers also need to maintain employees' emergency communication devices.
Depending on the routes drivers take, employers will need to keep some additional tools and equipment in their vehicles, such as spare fuel and snow tires or alternative portable means of transport should problems arise. Every vehicle should have an emergency blanket, a first aid kit, and bottles of water on board.
Allow Regular Breaks
Your drivers are the face of your business. Their family members and friends expect them to return home safely after each shift and if they don't, your company could be liable. Drowsy or fatigued driving is estimated to contribute to over 100,000 traffic accidents, leading to nearly 2,000 fatalities and over 40,000 injuries each year according to OSHA.
Employers have a big part to play in ensuring driver safety. Schedule frequent breaks for your drivers and permit them to exit their vehicles, eat, hydrate, and stretch their legs. Furthermore, you need to ensure work hours are reasonable. All of this will prevent car accidents and help maintain good employee welfare. Guidelines for the maximum duration a driver can be at the wheel of a commercial vehicle are set by the federal government. Go to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration's website to view a detailed outline of hours of service regulations.
Consider Mobile Employees "Lone Workers"
In many roles, mobile employees are traveling alone. As a result, your drivers should be accounted for in your lone worker policy documents. They need access to the same tools, resources, and attention as in-house staff. They also need a fast, easy way to contact administrators, co-workers, and business leaders, especially in the case of an emergency.
AlertMedia provides easy-to-use employee communication software that removes distractions and negates the need for phone dispatch. Employees can communicate with other team members and head office from any device by simply touching a button. All notifications are sent to employees via push notification, phone call, SMS text, or custom channels.
AlertMedia's easy-to-use monitoring system and lone worker safety app are specially designed for fast emergency communication in potentially life threatening situations. By simply hitting a panic button or failing to clock out when a timed session expires, drivers can signal for help.
Document Standards, Communicate Expectations, And Set Clear Aims
The majority of people work best when they know exactly what's expected of them. Outline standards in a place where everyone can access them and routinely review expectations with drivers. Here are some of the most essential driving safety tips some of the largest logistics companies in operations share with their employees:
- Always wear a seatbelt (applies to both drivers and passengers).
- Always use a hands-free device for phone communications.
- Be well-rested before getting behind the wheel.
- Avoid medications with drowsiness listed as a potential side effect.
- Avoid distractions when driving, such as eating, adjusting the radio, or operating hand-held devices.
- Follow speed limits, traffic laws, and any police directions.
- Don't drive with drugs or alcohol in your system.
- Take regular breaks (state expected frequency)
- Be a courteous driver and refrain from aggression, even if provoked.
- Stay alert to changing weather and road conditions.
Offer Incentives For Safe Driving
Offering various incentives to workers that practice extra safe driving can motivate other workers to get in line. Create an incentive program that really appeals to your drivers. Take time to find out what your drivers most value and then build incentives around those things. Incentive programs will vary between companies as every business has a different culture. Ensure that all recognitions are announced company-wide and take time to market your incentive program.
When drivers are alone it can be more challenging to track their performance. You can track any police citations, passenger reports, and customer complaints against each driver. It's also a good idea to assign supervisors to ride alongside drivers on a regular basis to check they're adhering to company standards to ensure safety and reduce liability.
Your company might want to use GPS tracking systems on each vehicle to ensure drivers are following agreed routes, taking regular breaks, and sticking to speed limits. Contacting drivers at set waypoints during long routes can also help keep drivers alert, on track, and accountable.