Given the amount of vehicles on our roads, the quality of some Australian roads, the undeniable stress crippling our community and the lack of knowledge of how to effectively share the roads with heavy vehicles, it is incredible that logistics companies endure so few accidents and incidents. It is a true testament to the skill, patience and endurance of our great “Road Warriors” that they manage to seamlessly adhere to long hours, heavy schedules and lofty expectations.
And so this Talking Health, Thinking Safety piece begins with a pat on the back to heavy vehicle operators all over the country.
Why is it important, you might ask? Can you remember the last time our news or current affair programs ran a story on how incredible truck drivers are and how diligent trucking companies are to have such positive safety statistics? The moment an accident occurs though, they are quick to pounce, to name and blame not just the driver, but also the organisation they represent. To a mostly naïve society this only serves to bolster an ill-founded perception of truck drivers, rather than celebrate them.
There are several factors, other than driver errors, to address in your business that have potential to decrease the risk of accidents for your driver group. Remember we aren’t just talking about the safety of the driver, we are also thinking about protecting the reputation of your business. Business managers must address factors such as scheduling, in-cabin ergonomics, fitness for duty, operating hours and general working conditions; and this is often about reviewing processes. It begs the question: in the heat of corporate battle, fighting against the enemy that is TIME, does your organisation contemplate the review and sharpening of processes, or does it ACT? Given the diabolical results that sub-standard processes can lead to, it’s vital that your organisation is on the front foot, that it’s action focused.
We therefore implore you to engage in robust discussions with key personnel around ensuring that your processes are tight and in keeping with your safety plan. Be bold, be brave and turn knowing into doing.
Let’s get back to the topic of recognition. Would your staff say that the existing culture in their workplace is built on recognising mistakes, injuries, accidents and poor performance? Would they say that they are rarely, if ever recognised for an impeccable safety record or for being an integral part of the team? Some in your team would say they don’t value or need positive recognition, but the complex web of human emotion suggests that this simply isn’t and can’t be true. All of us would walk a little taller if we’re told we’re doing a good job.
In a nutshell it’s high time that our amazing Road Warriors are lauded for their ability and endurance in their workplace and slowly but surely by the wider community. In your next meeting dare to raise the topic of process, encouraging your colleagues to see the big picture of health, safety and incident/injury prevention. Road safety is a fascinating jigsaw puzzle with many intricate pieces – sit quietly and carefully and put them together for the health and safety of all staff across your business. Till next time, good luck and good health.