Understand how your safety management contributes to your safety problems. Systematically assess your company's safety management practices and make improvements where necessary.
It is important for you to consider how safety will be achieved within your organization. Putting this in place begins with developing processes that incorporate safety into every aspect of your operation. Whether you are just starting out, or you have an established company, you should have safety-minded business practices. These will help make sure that you follow Federal regulations. Having these in place can save lives and reduce injuries. They can also improve your company's bottom line by saving time and money on paying fines and responding to regulatory compliance issues. They can also reduce the financial cost of crashes. FMCSA created a tool, the Safety Management Cycle (SMC) to help with this process. Carriers can download an overview of the SMC here: https://csa.fmcsa.dot.gov/Documents/FMC_CSA_12_002_SMC_Overview.pdf and download a list of safety improvement practices that help resolve typical carrier process breakdowns related to each of the BASICs here: https://csa.fmcsa.dot.gov/About/SMC_Overview.aspx. To help identify areas that are causing your safety breakdowns, use the SMC and ask yourself these questions:
POLICIES AND PROCEDURES — Operational rules and processes for a motor carrier and its employees.
- Do you have policies and/or procedures in place for all areas of safety, especially those FMCSA has noted as weaknesses?
- Are your policies and procedures clearly defined for all the safety management processes noted below: roles and responsibilities; qualifications and hiring; training and communication; monitoring and tracking; and meaningful action?
- Are they updated to match the current environment and align with regulations or other company policies?
- Are they realistic? If implemented as stated, would they achieve intended goals?
- Are they documented? How are they communicated?
ROLES AND RESPONSIBILITIES — Expectations and assignment of duties for a motor carrier and its employees.
- Are the roles and responsibilities of employees in your company clearly defined?
- Are the roles and responsibilities effective as defined?
- Are they complete? Do they cover all policies and procedures?
- Are they updated to match the current environment and align with policies and procedures?
- Are they realistic? As defined, will they achieve intended goals? Are they documented? How are they communicated?
QUALIFICATIONS AND HIRING — Finding and qualifying people for the defined roles and responsibilities.
- Are your job descriptions well written? Do the job listings have adequate visibility? Are you getting enough applicants?
- Do the wrong people apply for the job because the job description does not match the real job?
- Have you hired employees who are not qualified for the position due to:
- lack of background investigation, or
- lack of, or poor understanding of, the skills, knowledge, and abilities needed for the job?
TRAINING AND COMMUNICATION — Ongoing process to ensure that a motor carrier and its employees have the proper skills and knowledge to complete their jobs.
- Do you have training in place?
- Is your training adequate and effective?
- Have you conducted a comprehensive assessment of training needs?
- Does your training method and approach match content?
- Are your participants evaluated to see if they understand training material?
- Was anything (or enough) done to support training in the field?
- Are you communicating effectively with your employees?
- Are there consistent and open channels of communication within your organization?
- Do your communication methods match the needs of the situation? Frequency? Understandable format? Language?
MONITORING AND TRACKING — Ensuring that a motor carrier and its employees are in compliance with policies and procedures and roles and responsibilities.
- Do you have a process for monitoring and tracking your employees?
- Are you monitoring and tracking frequently enough?
- Are you documenting any behavior monitoring adequately?
- Is the right behavior being tracked?
MEANINGFUL ACTION — Providing positive reinforcement for, or aiming at improving or correcting, employee behavior.
- Are you able to effectively assess the monitoring and tracking data and select the appropriate meaningful action?
- Are you implementing refresher training when appropriate?
- Are you implementing a disciplinary process when appropriate?
- Are you implementing an incentive reward and recognition program?
- Are you implementing improvements to safety management processes when monitoring and tracking data points to a safety management process breakdown?