Among all road fatalities, heavy vehicles are behind a huge percentage of it, which makes it important for workers and business owners in the transportation industry to consider safety as number one priority within the job. Considering the many factors that contribute to road safety, entrepreneurs and employees need to follow certain rules and implement proven safety measures to reduce or eliminate unwanted accidents at work.
Hazards in the Industry
According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, employees in the trucking industry experience the most fatalities, 12 percent among all occupation deaths. Meanwhile, two-thirds of fatally injured truck drivers were found in highway crashes. Statistics show that truck drivers experience more nonfatal injuries than workers of any other industry, which may involve sprains and strains from having to unload the goods that they deliver.
Considering these numbers, employers must follow the industry guidelines set by OSHA—from highway driving and vehicle maintenance to loading and unloading and transporting hazardous materials. Accomodations must be made to make sure the truck is in compliance by either saving for maintenance costs or through freight factoring.
Implementing a hiring policy
Proper hiring starts with becoming familiar of the state and federal rules imposed by the Department of Transportation. Under DOT rules, companies are required to hire qualified drivers, providing a series of requirements, which include driving records, medical certificates, road test certificates, and an annual driving review. A formal hiring policy, which includes specific rules to hiring drivers, can ensure safety and security in the work environment.
Alcohol and drug use
Safe driving is number one priority when it comes to the transportation industry. Because of this, it is imperative to observe driver applicants for any unusual behaviors, which could possibly be caused by drug or alcohol abuse. As employer, your company policy should include prohibiting employees from driving any vehicle under the influence of any substance or intoxicant. Intoxication from an illegal drug such as marijuana or from alcohol can cause drowsiness and alter a person’s perception, which is a major safety risk to workers especially in the transport industry. Implementing a marijuana screening test during the hiring process can also ensure a drug-free workforce and overall safety within operations.
Fatigue management among drivers
Aside from intoxication, a simple case of fatigue can also put a worker’s safety at risk in the transportation industry. Since it reduces one’s productivity and performance, fatigue increases a worker’s chances of accidents on the road. As an employer in the trucking industry, you are also responsible for making sure that fatigue in the workforce is controlled or eliminated with the help of an effective fatigue management system.
Driver safety training and awareness
Being the main workforce in the industry, drivers are to undergo a driver safety awareness training at work, may it be in the form of an annual driver safety program for routine motor vehicle drivers, or a driver safety program every three years for occasional drivers of a company. Employers should implement these trainings and seminars with the OSHA requirements and guidelines in mind.
Ensuring safety and security in the transportation industry can be a successful task when appropriate rules and regulations are followed, not just by the employers but also the drivers themselves. It only takes assuming responsibility to make things work for all parties.