As we try to make jobs safer, we focus most of our attention on the “workplace” – the office, the factory, the construction site. However, we need to remind ourselves that the workplace is really anywhere people work, especially on the road. That was made graphically clear by news from Louisiana on April 13th when a fuel truck hit a dump truck on I-310 near Luling. The dump truck driver died and the tanker driver was injured. It was all caught on a passing driver’s dashcam.
There is a deeper message in the video – safety programs that don’t address vehicle accidents are ignoring a serious hazard. For example, government reports and news stories have frequently called attention to the safety record of the oil-and-gas industry. The Center for Disease Control found that workers in the industry had a fatality rate that was seven times the rate for all U.S. workers. Digging into those numbers, transportation accidents were the main cause of oil and gas fatalities, accounting for 40% of deaths over a ten-year period. That means that all of the safety measures we put in place at the drill site and all the training in safe drilling techniques have virtually no impact on four out of every 10 worker deaths. What should companies do about transportation accidents?
- Training – Not just classroom, but hands-on training.
- Policies and Procedures – Transportation involves unique hazards and requirements. Do we really believe that two paragraphs in your safety manual is going to be enough?
- Fatigue Management – The industry is nervous about applying hard and fast rules to operations that require flexibility, but as other industries have found, if companies don’t manage work and rest schedules, the government is always willing to step in.
- Maintenance – We forget sometimes that a car or truck is a complex piece of equipment. Companies need a system to identifying problems and fixing them in a timely manner.
- Safety Culture – This is a fairly new area of study. Experts have realized that fostering safety culture in a crew where a number of people work together under supervision is very different from one involving solo drivers who spend hours alone and have limited contact with supervisors.
Ready To Get Serious About Your Transportation Safety Program?
Let us help you design a system that truly controls the hazards that cause vehicle incidents and reduces the potential for fatalities in your company. For more information, contact us at Info@lifelinestrategies.com.