As a fleet management consultant, I have seen many companies neglect the need to conduct a risk assessment for their fleet operations.
And I understand why they continue to do this. You hear statements like “don’t fix what’s not broken.” That assertion remains very true; the only difference here is that these firms think they don’t have a broken system.
The mentality is “we’ve always done it this way.” “For the last 5 years, we haven’t had any major accidents.” “We have only minor accidents that can happen to anyone.”
That’s all well and good until a major catastrophic event takes place. Let me recommend that you read Darren Hardy’s book The Compound Effect: Jumpstart Your Income, Your Life, Your Success.
The truth is, if you ate one burger every day for the next three months, you wouldn’t look like the people on the American reality TV show My 600-Lb Life, which airs on TLC for those of you who watch cable TV.
However, if you continue to eat a burger a day over a long period of time, let’s say ten to fifteen years, there is a high probability that you will eventually look like some of the folks on the show.
Just because major events aren’t happening right now doesn’t mean you’re not creating the conditions and opportunities for them to occur. Recently, a logistics firm had been operating for over a decade without any significant issues.
However, one of their trucks was recently involved in a major accident, resulting in severe injuries to the driver and other road users. They grasped the necessity of safety at this point, but do you want to know what they did? They were quick to blame the driver and requested that we conduct a driver safety training program.
This quickly made us aware of the company’s lack of leadership. This is something that many businesses do. We’re always searching for someone to blame, and we know that while the driver may have played a role in this tragedy, it was more the lack of a robust fleet management system that allowed it to occur. Good leadership means taking responsibility. When you accept responsibility, you have solved half of the problem.
It’s much easier to control the system or the environment than it is to change human behavior. For example, instead of screaming at drivers not to exceed 100 km/h, you might include a geofencing system in your GPS tracking device to ensure your drivers cannot exceed 100 km/h even if they try.
Another example is that when you set definite policies and procedures for your vehicle maintenance program, your drivers have no choice but to follow them. The hazards come when there is no system or when the system is dysfunctional.
Many of these businesses never consider conducting a risk assessment of their operations, let alone implementing a risk management plan for their fleet. This is required by law in many first-world nations. This article explains why it is crucial to have a risk assessment approach when managing fleet operations, as well as the benefits of doing so.
To begin with, conducting a risk assessment is essential for identifying potential hazards and risks associated with fleet operations. These risks might range from vehicle breakdowns and accidents to driver fatigue and non-compliance with safety regulations. By conducting a thorough risk assessment, companies can identify these risks and take appropriate measures to mitigate or eliminate them.
For example, a company may identify that a specific type of vehicle in their fleet is more prone to breakdowns due to its age and mileage. To lessen the chance of breakdowns, they can take steps to replace the vehicle or conduct more frequent maintenance checks to reduce the risk of breakdowns.
Another benefit of conducting a risk assessment is that it can help companies comply with safety regulations and industry standards. For instance, in the United States, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) requires trucking companies to have a safety management plan in place to ensure compliance with safety regulations.
By conducting a risk assessment, companies can identify potential safety violations and take corrective action to prevent them. This not only helps them avoid fines and legal penalties but also ensures the safety of their drivers and other road users.
Furthermore, a risk assessment can help companies reduce their insurance premiums. Insurance companies typically charge higher premiums to companies that have a higher risk of accidents and other incidents.
By implementing a risk management plan based on a thorough risk assessment, companies can demonstrate to insurance companies that they are taking steps to mitigate their risks. This can lead to lower insurance premiums and save companies a significant amount of money in the long run.
Finally, when you conduct a risk assessment, you can improve the overall efficiency and productivity of fleet operations. By identifying potential risks and hazards, companies can take steps to eliminate them, leading to fewer incidents and disruptions.
This, in turn, can result in improved driver safety, fewer vehicle breakdowns, and reduced downtime. In fact, one company we worked with saw a 37% improvement in their fleet efficiency and productivity after conducting a risk assessment and implementing a risk management plan.
I’ll conclude with this: conducting a risk assessment is critical for companies that operate fleets of vehicles. This is required if your organization has more than five vehicles on its records. You need to identify potential hazards and risks, comply with safety regulations, reduce insurance premiums, and improve efficiency and productivity.
By neglecting to conduct a risk assessment, companies are putting themselves at risk of accidents, legal penalties, and financial losses. This is why you must adopt a proactive approach to managing risks in your fleet operations. Did you know that you could apply these same principles to other aspects of your business?
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