Six steps to increase HGV safety
Updated: May 11
Safety should be a priority for all business owners. However, it takes on an even greater significance when working in high-risk environments. For haulage or freight shipping companies, then, implementing the necessary steps to increase the sense of safety is vital.
It may seem like a daunting prospect, especially when you have drivers spread out across multiple locations. Thankfully, with the following features at your disposal, you can go a long way to reducing the risks. Here’s all you need to know.
Invest in the right vehicles
Any company that has a fleet of vehicles news to know that suitable models have been selected. You will need to ask whether a van is right for your company or if larger trucks are required. This could include articulated lorries, flatbed lorries, tankers, livestock trucks, or refrigerated trucks. The key with specialty vehicles is to align them with your needs.
While investing in the right vehicles is one thing, keeping them in good health is another. As well as regular servicing when they reach the specified mileage, you should encourage maintenance. When the tires, fluid levels, and brake systems are regularly maintained, success is assured.
Aside from preventing potential accidents and breakdowns, these moves will save the business a lot of time and money in the long run. When supported by the right insurance packages for your fleet, significant progress should be seen.
Emphasise driver safety
As a haulage company owner, you will naturally pay attention to the recruitment process. After all, you need to find competent drivers who have the skills and experience to handle large vehicles. Likewise, they need to be reliable, trustworthy, and ankle to work efficiently with a level of autonomy. Otherwise, problems will soon surface.
However, it’s not enough to simply hire the right drivers. You must also put their safety first. In addition to the aforementioned vehicle safety features, it is vital to use tools like anti-snooze devices. You simply cannot afford to let drivers stay on the road for hours when they are drowsy and exhausted. It is as dangerous as drinking under the influence.
It is also advised that you encourage drivers to stay hydrated and take the opportunity to eat and stretch their legs as required. Finally, if they are under threat of an attack or robbery, workers should not feel under pressure to put their lives on the line.
Know how to handle situations
Prevention is always the best form of protection, especially when dealing with drivers. However, the harsh reality is that some problems are inevitable from time to time. A quick response will enable you to limit the damage caused and restore normality in the fastest time. Risk assessments of the project types you’ll encounter will be key.
Developing a strategy for crisis management in the events industry is particularly vital. After all, the busy locations will be packed with members of the public as well as acts and workers. Similarly, a dedicated plan for pick-ups and drop-offs at warehouses or dealing with settings like shipyards is vital.
Your strategies should cover the on-site steps that are required by your drivers or loaders, as well as the action you’ll take at HQ. Aside from maintaining safe standards when an incident occurs, it can encourage a greater sense of control in all daily tasks.
Focus on clear communication
Clear communication is at the heart of all successful business models and yours should not be any different. Using real-time fleet tracking tools will give you an instant advantage over other companies that do not put these features in place. By knowing an exact location, you can act quickly if a breakdown or emergency occurs.
Moreover, it gives you a chance to stay in touch with drivers. It will help ensure that they take the right routes from one place to another. Regular communication additionally ensures that a team atmosphere is established and maintained. Given that drivers regularly spend an entire shift alone or with only their co-driver, this can make a huge difference.
It is a crucial step for building a safer shipping company while simultaneously supporting the people within it. Thanks to modern tech tools like team message apps and video calls, staying in touch with drivers is easy. This includes before and after their shifts.
Be ready for all road conditions
As the pandemic proved, the haulage industry never stops. Adverse weather conditions are one of the many issues that you must be prepared for, especially as it can impact the road. Even the best drivers and vehicles will struggle to cope with difficult roads. This is despite the fact that the salt gritters are usually quick to treat the major roads.
Long-haul drivers can benefit greatly from the use of GPS tracking. It means your office staff can reroute them to avoid potentially dangerous situations. For the best results, though, you should also look to use light bars and other tools that aid visibility. Keeping a shovel and other items to remove blockages in the road can be vital too.
Ensuring that the drivers won’t be left stranded or stuck is obviously of huge significance. Perhaps equally vital, though, is the fact that it will keep their minds at ease. When the roads are testing, a lack of distractions could save lives.
Embrace equipment maintenance
The importance of vehicle maintenance has already been covered. However, most haulage companies handle far more than just transportation. They also need to consider the loading and unloading of items. Whether it’s heavy machinery, livestock, or containers doesn’t matter. Additional equipment will be needed. And it must be maintained.
Items can range from simple ramps and side loaders to cranes and locking systems for vehicle transporting trucks. Scheduling regular servicing for all of those items is advised while a quick check prior to making a journey is vital. Otherwise, teams will be left trying to complete on-site tasks without the right items. This is when injuries occur.
If your drivers are using special vehicles, they deserve to know that all features are in good working order. When used in conjunction with general safety and security tips as would be the case with other businesses, you will be just fine.
Source: HGV UK