Despite yellow warning signs flashing strobes and lights, sweepers can still be a magnet for mayhem. They move slow, and are highly visible, but there are still many crashes involving sweepers.
Safety is more important in the sweeping industry than ever before, and technology is providing new and more comprehensive ways to keep your sweepers and operators safer. Companies want to avoid the risk and high costs that unsafe sweeping practices create. But most importantly, the industry is in the process of trying to reverse some alarming trends.
Although the number of crashes involving large trucks decreased 37 percent from 95,000 in 2004 to 60,000 in 2009, it was followed by an increase of 55 percent from 2009 to 2014. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) notes that from 2013 to 2014, the number of large trucks involved in injury crashes increased by 21 percent, from 73,000 to 88,000.
In 2015, the number of crashes involving large trucks increased to 143,832 from 140,092 in 2014, according to the FMCSA. The number of fatalities in these crashes also increased to 4,358 from 4,234 in 2014, while the number of injury crashes also increased to 72,119 in 2015 from 71,580 in 2014.
And it’s very likely that many of these accidents could have been avoided. Proper planning, equipment, regular safety compliance assessments, and comprehensive training for operators are the keys to having a safer fleet.
It’s essential for contractors to have a plan that protects their people from hazards connected to their workplace and the performance of their duties. It’s especially important in a sweeper environment to have these policies and make sure they are followed. Being compliant and checking frequently for staff and vehicle compliance can mean the difference between life and death for your operators and those they can potentially impact during working hours.
To be effective, the plan you create must be specific to your business and needs. It requires the support of top management, and employees must receive training on the plan. They should also be tested frequently for adherence to its requirements.
10 Steps To a Safer Fleet
The following steps can help ensure that you hire capable operators, train them, supervise them, and maintain company vehicles properly. These steps can also to keep your motor vehicle insurance costs as low as possible.
• Senior Management Commitment & Employee Involvement
• Written Policies and Procedures
• Driver Agreements
• Motor Vehicle Record (MVR) Checks
• Accident Investigation w/drug & alcohol testing
• Vehicle Selection, Maintenance, and Inspection
• Disciplinary Action System
• Reward/Incentive Program
• Driver Training/Communication
• Regulatory Compliance
For a more detailed look at these 10 steps, we encourage you to read the following document on the United States Department of Labor website to reduce motor vehicle-related deaths and injuries in the nation’s workforce.
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