Safety first. Stay safe. The two key phrases we hear every day, whether it’s from a loved one as we head off to work or as we load our gear into the truck for an emergency maintenance call. Safety is a key aspect of our every day lives, but it is truly the words we live by in all things fleet.
Whether you’re a driver, fleet manager, or a technician – safety is a top priority. To provide a safe environment for our teams, and our clients, it must be the foundation of everything that we do. And it takes the buy-in from the entire team to ensure that it works.
The focus on building a strong safety culture could only exist if we approached every job dedicated to doing it as safely as possible. By making it a part of the fabric of our business and developing our team into leaders of safety.
Vision and Communication
It goes without saying that leaders must have the ability to “see” what safety first excellence looks like. This comes by leading through example – show your team exactly what it means to put safety first. Demonstration is a great way to effect change, but clear and transparent communication is just as necessary.
Leaders need to be talking about safety frequently. Everything they communicate must be within the context of safety. This can look like:
- Weekly safety calls
- Shop safety inspections and meetings
- Mobile/truck safety audits
Safety measures do not work if only one person or department is practicing them. Actively seek input from your team about issues affecting them, encourage their participation and reward cooperation when it comes to implementing new safety methods.
Credibility and Accountability
If you want to lead a team and keep them safe, a high level of trust will be needed. This requires an education, experience and a willingness to admit mistakes then advocate for the safety interests of the entire team.
An effective leader gives workers a fair appraisal of their safety efforts and results, clearly communicates individual roles in the safety effort, and fosters the sense that every person is responsible for safety throughout the organization.
Reacting to incidents means you’ve already dropped the ball. Proactively training, planning, and preparing will keep your team on the safety offensive rather than defense. Accidents will happen and being quick to act can make all the difference in unforeseen circumstances.
Leaders need honest and accurate feedback on the effect of their behaviors to help them ensure consistency between their passion for people and the message employees receive based on their actions. Allow your team to have a voice by giving them the platform and transparency needed to share their thoughts and ideas on how to best stay safe.
Making safety the number one priority for your business requires effort and involvement from all corners of the organization. When you take the time to develop the culture above, you naturally build safety leaders in the fleet service.