Monday, March 24, 2014

Two easy ways to improve your company's safety rating

As you may know, the safety of a trucking company is tracked on the Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Safety Measurement System (SMS).  Performance is divided into Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Categories (BASIC) scores, which inform the DOT if intervention is necessary.  It is important that companies actively manage their BASIC scores to avoid attracting unwanted attention from the DOT.  Watching and improving BASIC scores can also result in lower insurance costs, but how can a company improve these scores?

                The vehicle maintenance and driver fitness BASICs are two of the easiest areas to improve.  Most of the violations that a company will receive in the driver fitness category are for drivers having expired DOT cards.  Make sure that someone is keeping a running list of medical card expiration dates.  Sure drivers should be responsible for keeping their DOT cards up to date but, it becomes the company’s problem when driver’s medical cards expire.  Now let’s talk about vehicle maintenance. 

                There is the old saying that “a camel is just a horse made by committee,” but committees can be helpful.  Creating a maintenance committee that is comprised of drivers, dispatchers, and the head of maintenance could help improving the company’s vehicle maintenance BASIC.  Allowing employees to identify and solve maintenance issues will give them more ownership of maintenance.  One note of caution about committees is that they can become a forum for complaints and morale killing, so it is important that management be present to steer the clear of becoming counter-productive.

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