Great West Casualty Company Blog

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Entries related to: motor-carriers

Back to Basics

In the frenzied pace of motor carrier operations, it is easy to get caught up in the daily grind and lose sight of fundamentals. For any business, three key elements are crucial to success: communication, teamwork, and planning. Revisiting each of these elements periodically is healthy for the entire organization and can help the company achieve its objectives. However, one area that motor carriers tend to ignore in varying degrees is safety. In the Spring 2019 issue of Safety Talk, we discussed how practical drift, an employee’s gradual deviation from established policies and procedures, can erode the effectiveness of a company’s safety efforts, and if allowed to continue unchecked, can negatively define the company’s culture. Senior management at a trucking company can contribute to this erosion as well. Here is an example: A motor carrier may become complacent or resistant to change because it hasn’t recently experienced a crash or injury. Management then adopts a mentality of, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” This type of mentality introduces risk into what may otherwise be a healthy organization. If management cannot attribute the company’s success to effective loss-prevention practices, it is essentially saying pure luck is responsible for the company’s performance. Regardless of past loss performance, no company can afford to rest on its laurels if it expects to remain competitive. A periodic review of basic safety practices is essential because new risks may be present that have not been accounted for. Whether a change in customers, equipment, commodities, or personnel, motor carriers should have a process in place to continually assess their risks and determine if current safety practices are sufficient. Below are some assessment methods.
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Providing a Workplace Free of Known Hazards

Motor carriers are in a hazardous industry and face four types of loss exposures: financial, property, liability, and personnel. Financial exposures include decreases in revenue resulting from a loss, such as a vehicle crash, as well as increases in expenses. Damage to equipment or your facility are examples of property exposures, while liability exposures involve third-party claims. The final loss exposure category is the most important: personnel. The loss of any worker, especially key personnel, can cause significant business interruption. That is why a motor carrier should be mindful of its responsibility to provide a workplace that is free of known hazards.
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Use Road Tests to Measure Driver Quality

Motor carriers put a lot of faith in drivers. They are entrusted with very expensive equipment, valuable cargo, and customer trust. With all of this at stake, motor carriers cannot take driver hiring decisions lightly. Trusting word-of-mouth referrals or the accuracy of an applicant’s resume is not enough to gauge a driver’s qualifications. The best way to accurately determine an applicant’s abilities is to physically observe him or her in and around the truck with a road test. Road test observations, combined with the results of pre-employment investigations, better position motor carriers to make a well-informed hiring/leasing decision.
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