How to improve work truck safety

Truck bed (Photo: Reading Truck Group)
Truck bed (Photo: Reading Truck Group)
Truck bed (Photo: Reading Truck Group)
Creating a checklist can improve a company’s safety record. (Photo: Reading Truck Group)

If you operate a work truck or manage a fleet of vehicles, safety should be your top priority. You can improve your company’s safety record by implementing proper protocols and standards for work truck operators to follow.

Below are some truck fleet safety tips.

1. Online training. This training can include videos, tests and interactive programs to help drivers learn best practices for driving their truck.

2. Run motor vehicle record (MVR) checks. Before you let a potential driver get behind the wheel of a company vehicle, you’ll want to run a motor vehicle record check first.

3. Behind-the-wheel training. Even if they’ve driven their own personal vehicle, employees can benefit from this training if they have never driven a service truck before and are unaware of the differences in operating that kind of vehicle.

4. Use newsletters and emails to spread messages. If there are any updates to your driving policies, include them in a newsletter. You can use the newsletters to include situational information, such as how to drive safely in the snow or ice.

5. Reward good driving. Some companies offer financial incentives, a cash reward or paid time off to drivers who reach certain driving goals.

Companies also need protocols and standards that keep workers safe while they’re doing their job. Those include:

  • Inspect vehicles every day. Equipment and tools, faulty brakes or a blown tire could cause a major accident that could harm your drivers and other motorists. Establish a truck safety checklist that workers must complete every day.
  • Designate a spotter when moving vehicles or heavy equipment. The spotter should be wearing clothing that’s highly visible to the driver and should know where the vehicle has blind spots. He or she should communicate instructions clearly.
  • Direct traffic away from workers. If a work site has a lot of vehicles, keep workers away from them. If you work on a busy street, you’ll want to find a way to keep everyday traffic away by, for example, shutting down a lane of traffic.
  • Get rid of distractions. Reducing the number of distractions on the work site, like phone and headphone use, can prevent damage to equipment and injury to workers and help workers avoid making mistakes that could delay the project.
  • Include signage at the work site. Make sure everyone on the job site knows how to read the signs and understands what they mean.
  • Ensure proper licenses. Check your state’s licensing requirements to see if any of your drivers will require a special license to operate your vehicles.
  • Secure equipment. Loose material can become a dangerous projectile if it flies off the back of a work truck into traffic.
  • Don’t drive while distracted. While a driver’s phone, GPS and two-way radio may be integral to his or her job, a driver should only operate them when the car is pulled over.
  • Slow down. You can cut down on speeding by ensuring drivers are aware of how long it will take to arrive at their destination and that they have enough time to get there.
  • Prevent drowsy driving. Any driver who appears to need sleep should not be allowed to operate a work truck.
  • Have zero tolerance for impaired driving. While employees shouldn’t be coming to work impaired in the first place, they should especially not be driving. If workers are taking medication that impairs their ability to drive, they should not be driving one of your trucks.
  • Make seat belts mandatory. Also, drivers should never try to fit more people in their work truck than there are seat belts for passengers to wear.

Susan Lackey is director of environmental, health and safety & security at Reading Truck Group.

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Susan Lackey

Susan Lackey is director of environmental, health and safety & security at Reading Truck Group.

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