If you don’t have an Accident Prevention Plan, each day on the road is just an accident waiting to happen. This might sound extreme, but the truth is, trucking is an industry with a lot of safety risks and potential hazards; if you aren’t actively preventing accidents, the potential for injury, including serious injury and death, is exponentially increased. What can you do? Create a safety plan and use it. This can help you find and eliminate potential safety problems before an accident or injury occurs. If you don’t have a plan, you need one. Create one today.
Accident Prevention Plan- A Legal Obligation?
An accident prevention plan is a good idea for any trucking operation, no matter the size (owner operator, small fleet, large fleet, etc.), but for many companies, it is actually a legal obligation. A workplace injury and illness prevention program is encouraged/required by a majority of states (learn about the requirements for your state here)and OSHA recommends that every workplace have one.
If you don’t have a safety plan, not only are you putting yourself (and your employees) at risk for an injury, you’re also exposing yourself to unnecessary liability should an injury occur.
Starting an Accident Prevention Plan- First Steps
Creating your first accident prevention plan can seem overwhelming; we’ve broken the process into a few easy first steps to get you started.
· Look for Risks– Spend a few days looking for hazards and make a list. What safety risks are you or your employees likely to encounter? Getting your employees in on the brainstorming process can help you to identify more potential hazards. Past records of accidents, injuries, safety inspection violations, etc. can be a valuable resource in pinpointing specific problems you’re facing.
· Create Solutions to Risks– Once you have a list of risks, work on creating policies to eliminate or reduce these risks. How can you reduce the safety hazards you face?
· Consider Training– A written policy is important, but so is training. If you notice safety violations or unsafe practices, consider some training. Knowing how to properly tarp, chain up, use PPE, etc. are essential skills every driver should possess.
· Choose a Safety Supervisor– Who is in charge of safety? While safety should be something on everyone’s mind, it is a good idea to have someone actively in charge of company safety to ensure that it remains a priority. This person can also be a point of contact should illness, accidents, or injuries occur.
Resources to Get You Started
The following resources will be helpful tools as you create your accident prevention plan.
· Guide to Developing Workplace Injury Program (California)- The State of California has created a comprehensive guide for developing a workplace injury program. While the information isn’t specific to the transportation industry (the guide was written for all employers), you’ll find it is easily adapted. This is a great resource no matter what state you live in.
· Sample Plan (Texas)- What should your plan look like? You’ll want to adapt things to the way your company does business, but this sample guide from the State of Texas can give you a good jumping off point.
· OSHA Information for Transportation– The transportation industry has some unique hazards. This guide from OSHA will help you identify some of the risks, hazards, and training requirements you should address in your plan.