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August 13, 2013
Trucking biz is on a safety roll—what's the secret?

Employees at three locations of the trucking company New Penn have surpassed the 1-year-injury-free mark. They’ve worked and driven without accidents despite the blizzards, floods, and severe weather of the past year.

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Keep reading to find out what drives this company’s commitment to worker protection.

New Penn, a regional carrier based in Lebanon, Pennsylvania, has earned a reputation for one of the lowest claim ratios in the trucking industry. This summer, facilities in Rochester and Buffalo New York, and Springfield, Massachusetts, passed the impressive 1-year safety milestone.

At New Penn, safety is not an add-on but is part of how employees work every day. President Steve Gast says the company hires safety-minded people and enhances their commitment through top-notch training, high-tech monitoring, and regular safety meetings. “Safety is second to none,” he adds.

If eliminating accidents is your goal, check out this top-10 list for getting to zero.

  1. Make sure everyone is committed to safety. Everyone in your organization, from top management to the newest employee, must be committed to safety as the number-one priority.
  2. Set clear standards for workplace safety performance. Make sure that employees understand the rules and that supervisors enforce them.
  3. Take the lead. Explain to supervisors and managers the importance of setting a good example and personally following all safety rules, such as wearing proper personal protective equipment (PPE). Supervisors should lead the effort in hunting down hazards and correcting them.
  4. Get employees involved. Give workers responsibility for planning and conducting inspections, analyzing their own data on work hazards, and designing safety checklists.
  5. Promote understanding. Emphasize that hazards put employees’ personal health and safety at risk. Understanding the “why” of safety is a strong motivator.
  6. Train for competence and safety. Train employees well and frequently. Make sure they have the information and develop the skills to prevent accidents.
  7. Encourage feedback. Encourage input and praise workers who identify and correct hazards or report problems they can’t fix.
  8. Look for teachable moments. When hazards are identified, do more than just correct them. Use them as teaching tools to help workers become more alert and aware of potential danger on the job.
  9. Jump on it. Make sure you respond promptly to identified hazards and take immediate steps to correct them.
  10. View accident prevention as an ongoing challenge. Make getting to zero something leaders, supervisors, and employees focus on every day, always improving by setting new safety objectives and making steady progress toward achieving them.
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