Safety & Compliance

ASSE Explores Fleet Safety at Conference

September 14, 2007

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As transportation accidents continue to be the No. 1 cause of on-the-job deaths, last week's American Society of Safety Engineers' (ASSE) "Improving Fleet Safety" symposium identified ways to prevent injuries and fatalities on the roads.

Occupational safety and health professionals, law enforcement and academia from 27 states, Canada and Switzerland met at UPS headquarters in Atlanta, Ga., for the sold-out event.
The focus of the symposium was to offer safety, health and environmental professionals an opportunity to participate in sessions and panel discussions on new challenges faced within the transportation industry, management processes and best practices.
Pilot programs involving new technology aimed at understanding driver behavior and the lone-worker environment were some of the many topics discussed at the two-day conference.
In 2006, 5,703 people died from on-the-job injuries in the U.S. and nearly one out of four of those fatal work injuries were transportation related. Worldwide, roadway crashes and fatalities are at an all-time high. In the U.S. there were 6,159,000 vehicle crashes in 2005 resulting in the death of 43,443 people and injuring 2.7 million more. Those accidents cost the U.S. $230.6 billion.
For businesses, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) estimates that the per crash cost for a fatal crash involving a company vehicle to be $3,604,518.
Topics offered at the conference included in-vehicle technology: managing crash risk before the crash occurs; diagnosing fleet safety systems to achieve involvement, exemplary compliance, and sustained loss reduction; best practices in hazardous materials transportation; event recorders - how one company's pilot program proved to be a success; what are the leaders in fleet safety doing? -- what separates the best from the rest; an overview of new technologies to improve transportation safety; update from the Florida cargo theft task force; improving driver safety through feedback; and building safety into your company's retention process.
Seatbelts and company programs aimed at reducing aggressive and distracted driving can work, conference participants said, but many are looking at in-vehicle cameras, vehicle and cargo tracking systems and the importance of safety coaching and actively managing employee performance.
Attendees agreed that safety is good business and transportation crashes not only cause injuries and fatalities, but increase maintenance costs, lead to road repair, retraining, hiring new drivers, and slice away at a company's good reputation.
"We need to continue to mitigate risk and improve driver safety by using the technologies available to us now such as electronic driver monitoring and feedback technologies, driver selection processes, and policies and procedures for optimizing transportation safety," Nadine Levick, CEO of Objective Safety, said.

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