Another Batch of Insurance Saving Tips

Best Insurance Practices

2021 Insurance Saving Tip #35

Become your organization’s Safety Evangelist

What is a Safety Evangelist?
⦁ Guy Kawasaki popularized the term “evangelist” in the early days of Apple Computer as Apple’s brand ambassador and promotor
⦁ The word evangelist is from Greek euangelistes “preacher of the gospel,” literally “bringer of good news”
⦁ Likewise, a Safety Evangelist is someone in the role of an ambassador and promotor of organizational safety.

Why do we need a Safety Evangelist? We already have a Safety Department!

The typical safety department is very busy, sometimes taking on several additional admin functions, leaving only limited time, if any, for its primary safety mission. In some organizations safety is another word for compliance. I’s are always dotted, and t’s are always crossed, but few new safety initiatives are proactively developed.

Says Safety Evangelist Marco van Daal, author of The Art of Heavy Transport: “Ideally we want zero accidents. Realistically . . . this is not possible. We are working with humans and humans make mistakes.”

Van Daal believes half of all accidents can be eliminated by better communication and training. Says van Daal:

  • When things are not made perfectly clear, they are subject to interpretation. This can lead to serious safety issues.
  • The workforce is becoming increasingly diverse and multicultural, in turn contributing to issues in basic communication.
  • Training is all about communication and training is often not a separate budget line item at many firms.

A Safety Evangelist:

  • Exchanges ideas respectfully, builds goodwill, and communicates in a way so everyone can learn from each other.
  • Makes connections with people, and as Michael Mathieu, CEO of expert platform Prox says, has “an opportunity to effect change in every conversation I have”  by being a catalyst “for change in a positive way.”

Become your organization’s Safety Evangelist today!

2021 Insurance Saving Tip #36

Adopt these Good Inspection Practices

Any equipment on your books is valuable to your business, be it a truck, trailer, forklift or mobile crane. Operator inspections are critical to retain that value. Faults and defects can be frequently found even on new equipment. But they can’t be repaired or mitigated unless they are first discovered.

Problem: The equipment was involved in a serious incident or accident. Perhaps it and any on-board records of recent inspections were destroyed. Perhaps the tablet used for the inspection crashed.

How can a firm show any evidence or prove an inspection was done?

• Best Insurance Practice: Operators should get in the habit of doing all of their pre-trip (vehicles) or pre-operational (lifting, cranes, forklift) inspections in a public area, where they can be seen by others or are under surveillance video.

If later investigated, for example, in litigation, witnesses to, or video tape of the inspection can then be provided.

Another good practice: When an operator returns to the equipment, approach the truck, crane, etc., from the opposite side they left it, for a quick visual check.

Perhaps a tire is flat, or a seal is leaking, or there is hidden damage, or someone left a shovel or crowbar leaning against the opposite side.

Operators need to look for anything unusual.

Problem: Vehicles are stopped at roadside inspection stations and ticketed or cited.

Solution: Usually there is a public Rest Area before the inspection station. Drivers need to pull in here and do a quick walkaround, checking the lights, tires and general condition of the vehicle, wiping off any dirty lights or reflectors, and making any necessary repairs, before proceeding.

While en route to a destination, each time the driver makes a rest stop, it’s always a good recommended practice to check the lights, tires and general condition of the vehicle or load, wiping off any dirty lights or reflectors, and so on.

2021 Insurance Saving Tip #37

Have and Enforce a Mandatory Seat-Belt Usage Policy

Sometimes, something so basic, so fundamental is often overlooked by many of the companies I review. Something that has a huge, huge, impact on your enterprise’s insurance risk profile and premiums, or these days, even the opportunity to obtain insurance at any cost.

One of the first things law enforcement officers always look for during an inspection is to check if the driver is wearing a seat belt.

Your insurance company is also checking if your drivers have been wearing their seat belts while driving. In fact, driver citations for not wearing a seat belt (or safety belt) are considered a serious RED FLAG by insurance companies.

Why is that?

Data from seat belt and driver behavior studies suggest unbelted drivers:

  • Work for an employer without a written safety program
  • Have had at least one moving violation in the past year
  • Often drive 10 mph or more over the speed limit
  • In other words, the unbelted driver is a risky driver or high-risk driver.

Other supporting facts:

  • In any given collision, the likelihood of unrestrained drivers becoming a fatality is higher.
  • Year-to-year, about half of all fatal collisions involve people who are not wearing seat belts
  • Looked at in another way, the odds of dying in a collision when a driver is not wearing a seatbelt are one in two.

What Employers Can Do?

—Enforce a mandatory seat belt use policy.

  • Drivers: (a.)Need to be aware of the policy and (b.) the consequences of violation, up to and including separation from employment.

2021 Insurance Saving Tip #38

Ask the DOT Roadside Inspector to write up any passing inspections

During commercial truck roadside inspections:

  • Vehicles or drivers with observable faults or infractions are “written up” during the inspection.
  • Vehicles passing an inspection, are sometimes not given a “write-up.”

This focus on the negative data can severely skew the U.S. DOT’s Safety Measurement System (SMS) scorekeeping, adversely affecting insurance premiums.

See more on the DOT’s SMS here.

Be sure your drivers always ask the DOT Roadside Inspector to write up or document any passing inspections.

2021 Insurance Saving Tip #39

Help your drivers to prepare for emergencies

Common road emergencies can happen at any time to any driver. How the driver responds can make a big difference on the outcome

The key word here is ‘respond,’ not react, as in some situations as driving on black ice, a blown tire,  front wheel skid, or a tire fire, the proper response could be considered counterintuitive.

Like good pilots who regularly practice emergency landings in both out of cruise flight and immediately after takeoff, drivers also need training and practice on how to deal with an emergency or how to prevent or mitigate a potential emergency from turning into something worse.

It might be a surprise, but preparing drivers for the worst, does not have to break the budget.

For example, numerous emergency driving situations can be gone over in a driving simulator. 

Check with your local community colleges with training programs, truck driving schools, or larger fleets for available driver simulator training.

For example, the Michigan Center for Truck Safety, funded by the State, has a Mobile Truck Simulator Program that they will bring on site to your location in Michigan. There is no cost for using their mobile simulator.

As almost no road is the U.S. is immune from slippery conditions, in addition to simulator training, every driver should undergo hands-on, skid school training.

Again, start locally. If none are convenient, then consider sending your drivers through a hands-on winter driving course.

In review:

  • Emergencies can befall any driver at any time.
  • Drivers need to be prepared for emergencies.
  • The best preparation is training and practice.
  • Emergency training does not necessarily have to cost a lot, but rather should be seen as an investment with real returns, including increased safety and lower insurance premiums.

Summary of today’s Insurance Saving Tips

  • #35 Become your organization’s Safety Evangelist
  • #36 Adopt these Good Inspection Practices
  • #37 Have and Enforce a Mandatory Seat-Belt Usage Policy
  • #38 Ask the DOT Roadside Inspector to write up any passing inspections
  • #39 Help your drivers to prepare for emergencies

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