Accidents involving vehicles remain one of the most common forms of workplace injuries. Some people project that self-driving cars will revolutionize vehicle safety but unfortunately that is still a few years away. According to the 2014 census, 4.4 million US citizens have a job based around driving i.e. trucking, driving a cab or bus, etc. It’s no surprise then that vehicle accidents are the leading cause of work-related fatalities, accounting for a staggering 24% of all workplace deaths in the US. Many workers, particularly in heavy industry, have jobs that include some driving but that are not exclusively just driving. These workers are particularly at risk because they may not be as experienced so providing driver safety training is crucial.
An employer is responsible for ensuring a worker gets driver safety training if they will be using vehicles as part of their job. This is best done during the orientation so a worker can be ready to start using a vehicle as soon as they start work. Contractors in heavy industry are often required to drive a range of vehicles. Different vehicles require different certificates and workers who have failed to pass their driver safety training should not be allowed to operate vehicles. You should use an online contractor management platform to keep track of who is qualified to drive vehicles.
Here are 10 topics to include in your driver safety training:
- Introductions: You don’t get a second chance at a first impression, as the old saying goes. Your orientation should make your new hire feel welcome. Include information on your company history and its objectives and how vehicles, and vehicle safety, fits within these objectives. Introduce the new hire to current workers who drive vehicles on-site. Online platforms mean you don’t have to do this in person. Just have your current workers record videos and include them in your online training to provide an introduction to your company culture.
- Rules and Regulations: Compliance is a massive concern for every company in heavy industry. There are multitude regulations you must comply with. Your orientation should cover local, national, organizational, and company regulations regarding vehicle safety rules and regulations. These rules are in place to ensure workplace safety, but management is not solely responsible for compliance. Your workers who drive every day are the ones who most need to know about the relevant regulations so be sure to include these in your driver safety training.
- Emergency Procedures: As mentioned earlier, workplace accidents involving vehicles are very common. Following the correct safety procedures can significantly reduce this risk. However, if an accident does occur your workers should know what to do in case of an emergency. Your driver safety training should include information on vehicle accident handling and general practices on how to handle breakdowns and accidents.
- Handling of Cargo: Workers who do a lot of driving for their job are often transporting cargo. There are a specific set of requirements a worker should know to do this properly. Workers should be trained to deal with shippers and consignees and how to handle bills and manifests. Your driver safety training should cover checking cargo, dealing with hazardous substances they may be transporting, and what safety precautions they should take while driving.
- Inspections: There is no piece of equipment more important than a vehicle for a worker who drives for a living. You need a consistent routine to keep a vehicle in proper working order. You can cover this routine in a driver’s orientation. Orientations should train workers on how to conduct inspections, record the results, and how to write equipment condition reports. Every worker who drives a vehicle should be made aware of the importance of having any defects fixed before their departure.
- Work Standards: Your orientation should cover what you expect from your workers so that they clearly understand their role once they start work. Topics to cover include, a contractor’s times of work, their responsibilities, the correct reporting procedures, proper working practices, worker incentives, and disciplinary procedures. These topics form the basis of a safety orientation and are essential topics to cover for any new hire.
- Special Equipment: A wide variety of vehicles are used in heavy industry, ranging in size and purpose. Industries like mining require highly specialized vehicles that should be operated by only trained workers. These vehicles may have pumps, hoses, load tie-downs, winches, and a variety of specialized safety equipment. Only workers who receive vehicle-specific training as part of their orientation should be allowed to operate this equipment.
- Routes and Schedules: Driver safety training should cover how to plan and follow a route and schedule. Workers should receive training on how to design a route that takes into account road conditions, congested areas, and any hazardous conditions that may present themselves on the journey. Drivers must also recognize on-site hazards which pose risks on even short periods of driving. The correct roads to use should be marked on a map and have the worksite should have clear signs.
- Accident Investigation: Unfortunately, worksite injuries involving vehicles do happen. When they do, you need to discover the root cause responsible. This process involves reviewing the accident and analyzing how and why it happened. Keep meticulous records during the investigation as the findings can be used to take steps to prevent future accidents.
- Procedures for completion of the trip: It can be easy for a worker to get complacent once their job is nearing completion. However, safety practices don’t end until the job is fully finished. The final stage of vehicle safety includes safely parking and refueling the vehicle, completing the required records and reports, and conducting a post-trip inspection. Following proper safety practices at the end of the trip ensures the safety of the driver but also future drivers as post-trip inspections are an often mandatory part of vehicle safety.
Online System for Driver Safety Training
Driver safety training is one of the most difficult things to include in traditional classroom-based orientations. Management often has to give hands-on training behind the wheel or risk having individuals start work without an adequate orientation. Hands-on training is a lot better than a classroom orientation but this is massively time-consuming, and quality can vary depending on who was conducting the training. A lack of standardization from site to site concerns safety management.
An online platform like GoContractor fills in the gaps in this process. You can include detailed videos showing correct vehicle safety practices, so workers get a practical orientation without the time demands on your staff. GoContractor has an easily customizable course builder that allows you to create courses for specific sites and roles. You can include driver safety training as part of all your orientations, so you can be sure your workers receive all the information they need to stay safe on the job.