Transportation Industry Safety Issues
Workers who drive for a living have a long list of extra considerations to remember when entering their vehicles daily. They also face several challenges associated with travelling for long periods. If you work in the transportation industry, especially if you’re responsible for fleet safety, it’s important to remember the most common issues that can pose hazards to driver safety. Let’s discuss some if these safety issues in further detail.
Slips and falls
Drivers must be cautious and use three points of contact when entering or exiting their vehicle. Many trucks have anti-slip features, which typically fail to eliminate the problem. This is because physical and human factors cause slips, trips, and falls. If drivers rush to get into their truck or are tired after a long day on the road, they’re less likely to hold onto the handrail or test their footing before exiting the vehicle.
In many instances, experienced drivers are more likely to lapse into complacency. The more comfortable you are at performing a simple task like entering and exiting a vehicle, the less attention you give it.
Failure to conduct proper walkarounds
Most trucking companies make walkarounds mandatory. Still, not all of them actively monitor employees, or provide them with the supervision and support required to get in the habit of conducting walkarounds. Positive reinforcement and building a culture of personal responsibility can foster a sense of pride in your workers, knowing they’re doing their jobs properly and safely. This way, they will be more likely to want to take greater responsibility for their truck, their safety, and other drivers on their team.
Bad weather or being in a hurry can tempt many drivers to rush through vehicle inspections. However, walkarounds are essential, as performing haphazard vehicle inspections can lead to essential issues going unnoticed. Even when walkarounds are conducted and potential problems are noticed, time, money, and complacency can put off essential fixes until the next trip and, by then, it could be too late.
One of the most dangerous states for a driver is fatigue. Truck drivers average less than 5 hours of sleep per night, and about 50% of accidents involving driver fatigue take place between midnight and 8 am. Fatigue slows reaction times, lowers attention and concentration levels, and increases errors. Drivers are much more likely to become distracted or take their eyes off the road when tired. Reaction times, situational awareness and decision-making functions fall by as much as 50% when someone is sleep deprived.
It takes commitment to deal with these issues, and there’s no easy solution. Providing a course dedicated to allowing workers to avoid dangerous mental states and reduce human error while driving can go a long way to combat these transportation safety issues. There may also be scheduling changes that can cut down on the amount of rushing, frustration, and fatigue that drivers experience. Keep in mind there’s no replacement for classroom training that improves driver safety skills and awareness.
Many companies with extensive fleets conduct driver safety training. However, when people feel rushed or annoyed by other drivers, they’re more likely to ignore their training, take unnecessary risks, or forget that driving is hazardous. A person’s state of mind can lead to aggressive or careless driving and cause collisions.
The key to safer driving is teaching people how to focus when frustration arises. If you train your employees to recognize the human factors involved in dangerous driving, you could get one step closer to reducing accidents. Adding human factors to your safety program will help your drivers overcome risk-increasing states when they’re behind the wheel.
Failure to recognize changing environmental and road conditions, incidents, or reduced visibility can all stem from driver inattention and complacency. When temperatures dip, it rains, or the snow begins to fly, drivers must recognize the increased risk and adjust their driving behaviour accordingly.
Drivers should also know when to pull over, wait it out, or find an alternate route. The best way to help drivers adjust to shifting road conditions is to build up their skills. The time of day on the dashboard, clouds rolling in, or the sun setting in the distance can start drivers to do a quick vehicle information check and review their state of mind.
It is important to address these safety issues to ensure everyone on the road arrives at their destination safely!