The route to safer cross-border fleets (2/2)
Part two: A spotlight on business culture and data-driven strategies
In the second part of our ‘safer fleets’ blog, TraXall’s expert consultants explain how to promote a company-wide safety culture and examine data-driven strategies to mitigate risk.
According to the European Commission, road accidents involving drivers on company business contribute up to a third of all work-related deaths. Its stance is clear, “improving work-related road safety and fleet management would much improve road safety as a whole”.
Further afield, the United Nations Decade of Action for Road Safety, which concludes next year, has set out to mobilise governments, individual road users and business fleets alike to improve standards.
But has the global call to action been loud enough? Here at TraXall, we certainly believe the message is filtering through to the international business community.
In addition to their clear moral obligations, cross-border fleets operators should need little reminding of the notable impact effective risk management can have on their bottom line – from minimising vehicle downtime to reducing maintenance cost and motor insurance premiums.
In part one of our ‘safer cross-border fleets’ blog post, published last month, we examined how fleets can best identify where risks lie and how to ensure vehicles are effectively maintained.
Here we consider the importance of promoting a company-wide safety culture and some of the data-driven strategies that can help improve safety standards.
Please note that we once again advise fleet operators to take account of the local, country-specific, fleet and legislative environment when implementing risk management initiatives.
Fostering a companywide culture
Sustaining a best practice approach to road risk management – so that it becomes fully engrained within an organisation’s DNA – can only be achieved with the cooperation of everyone within the business. This calls for strong leadership and clear communication of company expectations – the guiding principles that outline a company-wide commitment to safety.
A comprehensive ‘driving for work’ policy that details everything from high-level goals to the code of conduct expected of every employee, offers a good starting point. This should incorporate guidance to ensure vehicles are regularly checked to maintain their roadworthiness, along with advice on everything from driving in adverse weather to dealing with fatigue.
By focusing on a culture of excellence in road safety, employees will be clear about what they are being asked to achieve and may also be inspired to make significant changes to their risk-related behaviour. Consequently, they may become powerful advocates for change.
The most forward-thinking organisations will do far more than tick safety policy boxes. They will encourage employees to be more aware of the risks around them and to be more proactive in avoiding or reducing them.
On-going staff communications are vital if a sustained cultural shift is to be realised. These might include safety seminars, advisory intranet resources, posters and email bulletins to help ensure the road safety agenda is kept front of mind.
Furthermore, the values of a company can be reinforced with positive initiatives, such as driver training programmes, introduced to target risk failings and areas of concern.
Actioning risk data
In the first part of our blog we explained how businesses can use risk assessment data to help paint a picture of where problems lie and where gaps in safety procedures exist. Businesses should consider various sources of intelligence to help build this picture, from insurance claims, accident management and customer feedback information to tachograph and working-time compliance data.
Faced with such an array of information, responsibilities for its ownership, management, security and privacy should be clearly assigned. Key performance indicators (KPIs), aligned to corporate health and safety goals, can then be set with tailored programmes introduced to tackle known issues.
If alcohol misuse is identified as a problem, for example, training workshops might be held to raise awareness and remind staff of the company’s alcohol policy.
Improving the performance of driver behaviour out on the road, in contrast, calls for a longer-term approach to coaching. This may mean using telematics performance data to monitor change and to enable swift management interventions, such as driver debriefings, where and when they are required.
It is particularly important to ensure employees remain engaged with campaigns for safer fleet operations. If they are not, it can prove extremely difficult to keep them motivated.
Empowering drivers with the tools to improve – from online resources to in-vehicle performance feedback solutions – can be effective in this regard, as can the introduction of incentive schemes, such as employee reward programmes.
Gamification initiatives, such as the use of league tables to compare the performance of drivers against their peers, have also proved a notable success for many companies by promoting a competitive workplace environment.
Examples of international businesses using gamification to help manage risk include Athens-headquartered EnTrans International, which has seen a dramatic increase in safety measures among employees as it strives to become an injury-free workplace. Elsewhere, Walmart reportedly saw a 54% decrease in incidents across eight of its distribution centres.
A helping hand
Protecting company drivers and their vehicles – both vital business assets – is clearly of paramount importance to global fleet operators.
Coordination of risk management programmes to ensure global strategies deliver for local country markets, however, can be a challenging undertaking, particularly at the development and implementation phases.
Efforts must be made to engage all relevant stakeholders, including, in some cases, work councils, across all countries during the early stages of the process.
Where businesses lack the internal expertise to carry this out effectively, outsourced consultancy advice from an industry specialist like TraXall International, can help facilitate the process.