Operations

Prevent Accidents Through Communication

Posted on June 1, 2001 by LCT Staff - Also by this author

Many of us fail to take the necessary precautions to prevent accidents. Most of the time, we are thinking about where we are going next and not what we’re doing now. It is this type of thinking that greatly increases the chance of an accident. And in the transportation industry, accidents can kill a business.

To help prevent accidents, most companies conduct regular safety meetings and pass on important safety information to the staff. These meetings or messages can be directed to employees, clients or the general public. The day, time and season of the year may have an effect on what type of message is delivered.

Remember when you were first made aware of a particular safety issue? Remember the last time that you walked into a restaurant after the floor area had just been mopped? Usually there is a yellow sign that says “Caution, Wet Floor.” In addition to this reminder, during the rainy season retail stores will often display signs that say “Slippery When Wet.”

In our industry, there are many areas that need to be covered in safety meetings. For example, when a driver is hired and goes through training, there are many safety topics that should be addressed. It is very important to educate the new employee on the ways of preventing client injury when getting in or out of the limousine.

“I think it starts with the hiring process,” says Renea Wolfrum, president of the Arizona Livery Association. “It’s important to hire drivers with perfect driving records, especially with the insurance rates being so high.” Wolfrum mainly uses independent contractors and will not deal with anyone who hasn’t been drug tested. “When it comes to safety, those two issues are very important to me,” Wolfrum says.

New-hire training should include how to courteously warn clients of potential hazards, such as rough walkways or high curbs. Specific safety guidelines should also be communicated to clients about the use of glassware provided by a limousine company. Accident Prevention is Key

Management normally initiates safety meetings. The purpose of these meetings is to obtain the opinions of others on ways to eliminate accidents. These meetings should include a discussion of recent accidents and ways to prevent similar incidents. Accident analysis is an excellent tool in which to share information with employees.

Also, this time can be used to focus attention on specific areas where the potential for accidents is higher. This information and discussion can be a useful tool to other employees on ways to more efficiently handle a specific type of unsafe situation.

The maintenance staff often participates in safety meetings. They usually discuss troubleshooting mechanisms or certain types of problems that drivers may encounter if the proper driving technique is not used. Techniques will be emphasized, such as reducing speed and anticipating stops to reduce excessive wear on the brake shoes.

The maintenance staff will also recommend constant monitoring of fluids to minimize breakdowns. Additionally, personnel will stress the importance of completing a pre-trip maintenance inspection sheet. This inspection sheet reminds drivers to document potential mechanical problems. Preventive maintenance goes a long way toward reducing incidents on the road.

Other hot topics at these meetings could include changes in service, company policy and direction. A company’s philosophy and business focus may vary depending on the time of the year. Be sure that all employees are tuned in to these changes.

Formal Safety Meetings Formal safety meetings have several objectives. These meetings allow employees the rare opportunity to interface with each other. The transportation business is a 24-hour-a-day operation. Drivers can go for long periods with minimal communication. Formal meetings are the perfect setting for all employees to hear consistent information from management and office staff.

However, when formal meetings are not possible, “tailgate” meetings can sometimes be organized. Management normally conducts these meetings in a one-on-one setting. Formal meetings are often difficult to organize because ... for more on this topic, see the June issue of LCT magazine!

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