Driving heavy vehicles is much different than ordinary office jobs. That is why fleet managers have a lot more to consider when it comes to health and safety. We have compiled a list of 9 tips to ensure that your HGV drivers stay as safe as possible while they are out on the road.
1. Safety is the number one priority
Your top priority should always be safety. For your drivers, it needs to be more important than efficiency or speed and for the company, it needs to be more important than profits. You don’t want your drivers to be injured and you don’t want your company to lose business or income due to accidents. You should encourage your drivers to inform you about any ideas they might have regarding safety – they may have insights that either your safety inspectors or you do not have.
2. Check your vehicles on a regular basis
“Checking your vehicles regularly and thoroughly provides you with the chance to prevent problems before they ever occur” advises the operational manager at The LGV Training Company. The key to ensuring that your vehicles are kept in a safe condition is regular inspections and maintenance. Make sure to have booked and then stick to your schedule.
Making a pre-trip inspection prior to each trip is a sound practice to convey to your drivers. This can help them avoid such problems as not having enough petrol in their vehicles mid-journey.
3. Eliminate dangerous driving
This one is hard – how can you tell which drivers on your staff are serial tailgaters? Fortunately, there are tools that are available that enable you to monitor the way your vehicles are driven.
4. Drug and alcohol testing
Although you would like to believe that your drivers wouldn’t risk their own lives by coming into work under the influence of drugs or alcohol, you have to realise that you don’t know what other types of stress factors people are under that might push them in this direction.
Getting a testing regimen implemented is the best thing that you can do. That will allow you to avoid anybody under the influence driving one of your vehicles and make it possible for them to get help for their problem.
5. Create a pre-defined accident procedure and implement it
Even with all of the policies and procedures in the world, accidents still do happen at times. As a fleet manager, the best thing that you can do is prepare yourself for that eventuality. Get a procedure created that drivers should follow in case there is an accident and make sure your drivers are all trained according to it.
6. Supply your drivers with ‘hands-free’ setups for their mobile phones
For those situations where something has changed or you have another reason for needing to call a driver, you don’t want to have to worry about it being unsafe when answering their phone.
When your drivers are supplied with hands-free peripherals to use with their mobile phones, it will ensure they are able to take calls without putting other drivers or themselves at risk.
7. Plan your routes
Planning your routes is a good practice to follow from both a cost reduction and efficiency standpoint. It has safety considerations as well. By making sure your drivers have sufficient time for completing their trips, based on actual data regarding the routes that they use, you can avoid them having stressful trips where they feel they have to rush due to not having enough time.
8. Stay aware of the weather
Be sure to stay up to date on weather reports. If the weather changes for the worse your route planning may all end up going out of the window. Of particular concern are high winds. If you see that might be a problem, then you might want to consider getting your vehicles re-routed.
9. Training and policies
Now you are aware of the most important elements to watch out for and to train your drivers on. So how do you take action? The key is your training and policies. Policy for alcohol/drug testing and vehicle inspections need to be put in place and they need to be enforced and followed across your entire company.
In order for them to be effective, it is important to make sure the professional relationships work in both directions, between the drivers and fleet managers.