Proactive safety measures reduce stress and violations

What’s the point of a safety department if risk mitigation isn’t valued? That’s what Reliance Partners Director of Safety Robert Kaferle argues in a recent appearance on FreightWaves’ What the Truck?!?

Kaferle urges carriers to focus less on their CSA scores but instead aim to reduce violations. He reasons that safety scores only tell you where to look and that they’ll certainly drop if elimination violations are your top priority.

He also stresses the importance of proactive safety measures. In other words, take steps to prevent violations before they occur.

However, the problem with many safety programs today is that they’re reactionary in nature. Rather than getting to the root of an issue before an incident arises, Kaferle said some programs take action only after the fact.

If you don’t know where to start, Kaferle suggests carriers consider safety consulting to uncover negligence or unidentified issues that may be hiding in plain sight.

“You have to figure out what the issue is,” he said. “Is it a dispatcher, operations or customer issue? Are they having issues with the maintenance department or are carriers not treating their drivers as the professionals that they should be?

“If they’re continuing to have maintenance issues, ELD issues where they don’t have manuals or they don’t have blank logs in the truck and they continue to get those violations, that’s a red flag,” Kaferle said, explaining that He’s always willing to help, but he’d like for his clients to roll up their sleeves too. After all, only your team knows the business best.

When fleets have nonchalant attitudes toward safety, Kaferle suggests it could be a sign that employee morale is low, which must be dealt with immediately.

He said that it doesn’t take much to boost recruiting and retention in this industry — a little can go a long way. Of the many methods Kaferle deploys on his visits with carriers to build and improve their human resources and safety departments, he said you’d be surprised by just how appreciative drivers are when given their own business cards.

“Everyone feels more important with a business card — it’s just the way it is,” Kaferle said. “It really sets your company apart. Plus, it’s a great recruiting tool.”

Click for more FreightWaves content by Jack Glenn.

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