Daily Archives: June 1, 2017

The Roadcheck Is Coming! Is Your Fleet Ready?

Now in its 30th year, the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance’s annual International Roadcheck will be running June 6 – 8. Will your truck drivers be ready for it?

During the Roadcheck, authorities will be conducting around 17 Level I inspections PER MINUTE across the United States, Canada and Mexico. That’s a lot of inspections.

As we mentioned in a prior blog, this year they will be paying special attention to cargo securement, although they will have their eyes peeled for other potential violations, as well.

Don’t be fooled by the misconception that only flatbed trailers require cargo inspections. In fact, inspections will be required on all vehicles with the exception of sealed cargo or cargo that is a logistical challenge to inspect.

It might be a good idea to enroll your fleet in a cargo securement training program. Truck drivers typically respond well to these types of programs and appreciate the extra effort the fleet is putting into ensuring they don’t receive any hits during the annual roadside inspection or any others.

What Are the Inspectors Looking For?

The last time Roadcheck focused on cargo, which was in 2015, they issued 2,439 violations for load securement, no small number indeed. Most common of all the load securement violations was the truck driver’s failure to prevent shifting/loss of load.

Failure to secure truck equipment, damaged, insufficient or loose tie-downs rounded out the top for violations.

As with any load securement check, the first thing they will be looking for is to ensure the proper amount of load securement is in place. They will be checking the condition of the straps, making sure they aren’t overly worn out and looking for things like nicks or cuts.

They will also be looking to make sure there is edge protection, that way they can ensure the straps won’t be cut or compromised by the load itself.

You’ll also want to ensure your spare tire is secure. This one is often overlooked, but winds up being a common violation due to how easy it is to overlook.

Although this may not seem immediately related, if there is dirt, gravel or other loose material on the deck, inspectors will consider that loose or blowing cargo. If you don’t ensure you’ve swept your deck of any loose material after hauling a piece of machinery or other piece of cargo that could leave something behind, make sure you sweep it up lest you want to be at the wrong end of a ticket.

Also pay attention to load length. It’s not just weight and cargo securement that you have to consider, but also the number of linear footage on the load. Inspectors will want to ensure it matches up not only with the load you are carrying, but the paperwork involved.

For someone who has never dealt with linear length before, this area can be confusing, which is why training is so important.

Knowing the Trick to Tie Downs

We did a recent piece on cargo securement, which you can find here, but the one thing to remember is this: To meet the safety requirements, you must use at least 50% load securement of the total weight of the cargo you are carrying.

Put simply, if you were carrying a 10,000-pounds piece of steel, you would need a 5,000-pound working load limit in place. There are even tie-down calculator apps out there to help you determine what proper load bearing securement should be.

More than anything, ensure your truck drivers know that the inspection is almost here and they will have to be ready for it. Proper training always helps.

How Company Habits Impact Safety Culture

How Company Habits Impact Safety Culture

There are a few different companies to look to when talking about effective safety culture. One of those is the world’s largest aluminum manufacturer Alcoa. What’s their lesson?

If you want to run a fleet that not only turns a profit, but operates safely, it’s vital that it starts with your company culture. Sure, this sounds like a simplistic solution, but that doesn’t make it any less true.

The fact is, once a bad habit has seeped its way into your company culture, it’s extremely hard to change. In these cases, the challenges lie in ensuring cultural bad habits are replaced with good ones and then embedded within the safety culture of your organization.

But where do you start? Surely, there’s a method to establishing a safety culture to be proud of. Indeed, there is, and we can help.

Giving A Cue

When you give a cue, you are providing your people with a tip that starts a habit. One example here could be a pre-trip safety check. Perhaps a warning light is on. Have they noticed it?

Safety managers should be out there in the field, testing and re-testing the safety culture of the fleet’s organizational competency. What if there’s a last-minute change to the makeup of a load? Will the truck driver or other employees involved be prepared?

When you provide a cue, you are alerting your people to the potential for a spot inspection at any time. You are cueing them in on your alertness, letting them know that you are paying attention. This is vital to ensuring the next step in the process is set in stone.

Setting up a Routine

Once you have provided your cue, you want your employees’ and truck drivers’ actions in response to that cue to become a routine. Has your truck driver established a routine composed of safety measures?

If you’re truck driver is running through a standard safety checklist, does that mean you can say to yourself, “Well, I know this already, he knows this already, so I’m just going to go back to my office.”

No.

The point of his exercise is to standardize the routine not only in your truck drivers but in yourself as well. Whatever your largest safety concerns are, focus on them during that safety check. If a safety check doesn’t include the challenges sitting atop the list, then it isn’t a proper safety check.

Providing a Reward

All of the above steps will make your people feel like you are micro managing them, when in fact, you are doing the opposite. You are preparing them for freedom. Therefore you need to reward the routine.

You want your truckers to feel as though they will be rewarded for discovering a safety issue and reporting it. The reward portion comes at the end of a loop

  • The Cue: The trucker discovering a safety issue
  • The Routine: The trucker reporting or correcting the issue
  • The Reward: The trucker being rewarded for correcting or reporting the issue as quickly as possible.

Changing the safety culture within your fleet is not impossible. In some cases, it may be quite necessary. And while there are many different ways to approach it, perhaps you needed a fresh set of eyes to look at it from another angle.

Take Alcoa as the example. Read up more on how they used this method to become one of the safest heavy manufacturing and commodities retrieval companies on the planet. Think you can’t emulate their success at the fleet level? Think again. After all, what have you got to lose in trying?