Is Safety Culture a Crutch?

Safety is a paramount concern in the trucking industry. We talked with Brandon Wiseman from Trucksafe Consulting to shed some light on strategies to establish and promote a strong safety culture within new and existing trucking organizations. So, let’s learn more about the most valuable insights when it comes to safety in the trucking world.

A Top-Down Approach:

A top-down approach is essential for fostering true safety culture within a trucking organization. Simply expecting drivers to prioritize safety is not enough. Leaders, including managers and CEOs, must lead by example. Actions speak louder than words, and when leaders demonstrate their commitment to safety and compliance, it sets a powerful precedent for the entire organization.
A safety-first mindset should permeate every level of the organization. Managers and CEOs should not only communicate their expectations but also ensure that they live out those principles themselves. For instance, if leaders pressure drivers to meet deadlines even when they are running out of hours, it sends a conflicting message that compliance is not a priority. Leading by example and aligning actions with safety values build trust and encourage drivers to take safety seriously.

Curbing Conduct and Accountability:

One critical aspect of nurturing a safety culture is addressing conduct that may compromise safety. Brandon points out that behind closed doors, some practices may inadvertently push drivers to violate hours-of-service rules. Safety managers play a crucial role in identifying and curbing conduct before it escalates into a systemic problem that can haunt the entire fleet.

Regulatory Measures and Litigation:

Historically, shippers, brokers, and third-party intermediaries were not regulated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regarding hours of service. However, in recent years, regulations have been implemented to hold them accountable. While enforcement may not be frequent, there are mechanisms in place to address coercion of drivers into violating hours-of-service rules.
Moreover, shippers and brokers face exposure to litigation if their conduct contributes to accidents caused by fatigued drivers. These cases, where liability is assigned to shippers and brokers, are increasingly prominent, leading to significant financial consequences. The potential for multimillion-dollar verdicts in highway accident litigation serves as an additional deterrent, highlighting the importance of safe interactions with drivers.

By adopting a top-down approach, leading by example, and addressing conduct that compromises safety, we can create a thriving safety culture that benefits everyone involved.

Watch the video where we meet Brandon Wiseman and he talks deeper on this topic:


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About the Author: Charles String

Our goal is simple; Help people start trucking companies, and keep them rolling. With my experience in transportation, I quickly decided to specialize in trucking insurance. It’s much more my speed and comfort zone: demanding, hectic, stressful…all the necessary ingredients to maintain my interests.