Drivers who take responsibility for heavy vehicles all day long face significant health and safety issues. This makes safety a priority for both, the drivers and for fleet managers like you. In order to keep your HGV drivers and the people they share the road with safe, we’ve assembled this list of key safety principles.
1) Make Safety Your Priority
“Safety of our drivers is our top priority and you need your HGV drivers to believe it and live it,” says a fleet manager at The LGV Training Company. Safety must come before speed, efficiency and profits. Protecting your drivers from injury takes precedence over maximising your company’s income; think about how catastrophic a serious accident could be. Make it clear to your drivers that you welcome their input on keeping the fleet safe. They have a unique perspective on your operations that safety inspectors do not.
2) Vehicle Checks
Your vehicles should be subject to regularly-scheduled and thorough safety checks. A timely discovery of a potential problem can save you considerable hassle and risk! Your vehicles need to be subject to a rigorous maintenance and inspection schedule to keep them as safe as possible. Double check to make sure that no vehicle gets overlooked.
Encourage your drivers to conduct their own pre-trip inspections prior to setting off. It might prevent embarrassing minor mistakes (like running out of petrol) or save a driver from a more dangerous error.
3) Monitor Driver Behaviour
It used to be nearly impossible to tell a safe driver from an irresponsible one, but this is changing thanks to technology. You have access to a range of different tools that can help you understand driver behaviour better. Track your drivers and weed out the ones that habitually engage in unsafe driving.
4) Test for Drugs and Alcohol
In a perfect world, you could trust your drivers not to endanger themselves or others by reporting to work under the influence. The sad fact is you cannot guarantee such sterling behaviour and otherwise safe drivers may succumb to all manner of stresses that could steer them toward drink and drugs.
This is why it’s important to establish a testing regime. You need to catch substance abuse problems as quickly as possible to keep unsafe drivers out of your fleet’s HGVs. Solid testing also allows you to help struggling drivers recognise their problems and get the help they need.
5) Set Procedures for Handling Accidents
Even when you do your very best to keep your drivers safe, a certain number of accidents are simply inevitable. Preparing for this challenge is a key part of your job as a fleet manager. Have a solid, well-defined procedure for your drivers to follow in the event of an accident and train them in using it.
6) Make Sure Drivers Have ‘Hands-Free’ Setups
Driver communication is a vital part of fleet management, but you don’t want to put your drivers at risk when you need to check in with them. Provide hands-free peripherals for all of your drivers so that they can accept calls on their mobile phones without endangering anyone.
7) Safe Routing
Paying attention to the routes you use is important to keeping your fleet efficient, but you should also assess your route-planning from a safety standpoint. Use solid data based on how long trips take to plan out your drivers’ activities. Make sure they have ample time to complete their journies without rushing; subjecting your drivers to undue scheduling stress may encourage them to take risks.
8) Track the Weather
Stay on top of the latest weather reports and adjust your fleet’s plans accordingly. Inclement weather can completely alter your route planning at a moment’s notice. Remember that high winds are a more significant threat to HGVs than smaller vehicles. Reroute your vehicles if possible to keep them away from open, windy roads.
9) Training Is Essential
These points have probably given you plenty of good ideas about how to keep your fleet safe. The difference between ideas and execution all comes down to training. Your fleet’s safety measures need to be set in stone with solid policies that all of your employees adhere to religiously. Make sure that both drivers and managers understand the importance of emphasising safety at all times.