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Entries related to: operations

Interpersonal Skills

  Interpersonal skills (aka soft skills) are character traits and behaviors we exhibit when interacting with other people. From your attitude and body language to the words you say, everyone must effectively deal with others to do their jobs successfully. Below is a list of common interpersonal skills. Read this information and determine how you can improve your soft skills.
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Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse is a Game Changer

Technology is quickly catching up to the trucking industry, and the FMCSA’s new Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse is a game changer. On January 6, 2020, drug and alcohol violations for all CDL and CLP drivers began populating the Clearinghouse database, meaning motor carriers are now able to access these records in real-time by querying the Clearinghouse database. This capability is huge for employers, state licensing agencies, and law enforcement personnel because this real-time data makes it more difficult for drivers to conceal their drug and alcohol program violations.
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Ask the Safety Rep: Where Can I Get Low-Cost or Free DOT Compliance Materials?

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Drug and Alcohol Testing

The FMCSA’s Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse went into effect on Jan. 6. All drivers with a commercial driver’s license (CDL) or commercial learner’s permit (CLP) should be aware of how the Clearinghouse will impact them.H ere are some useful facts about the federal drug and alcohol testing requirements. Find more information at https://clearinghouse.fmcsa.dot.gov.
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What Message Is Your Driver Screening Sending to Applicants?

With driver turnover being an issue for most motor carriers, coupled with the lack of new talent entering the industry, screening applicants remains critical to a motor carrier’s long-term success. Grossly mistaken are those companies clinging to the old-school mentality that simply filling an empty seat with a warm body will solve their driver shortage problem. In reality, motor carriers are likely contributing to their revolving door dilemma by hiring drivers who are prone to job hopping, have a history of risky behaviors (i.e., crashes and injuries), or simply do not mesh with their company culture.
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Technology and Coaching: A Proven Combination to Change Driver Behavior

In today’s trucking environment, where high-dollar litigation has become the norm, driver managers are tasked with an ever-increasing burden to ensure drivers conduct themselves in a safe manner. This is quite challenging since drivers are out of sight most of the time, but technology is catching up to the trucking industry, and motor carriers should be happy about that. Sitting drivers down in front of safety videos is one of the least effective ways to change their behavior. For adults, it is best to show them their performance gaps (i.e., bad fuel economy, moving violations, etc.) and help them find solutions on their own. A proven way to do this is to combine technology and coaching.
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Talent Metrics Every Motor Carrier Should Track

Motor carriers use the word talent to refer to employees, but this reference can include all employees or a select group (i.e., high performers), depending on who you’re talking to. One thing carriers can agree on is that mismanaging talent can have the same negative impact on the company’s bottom line as a crash or injury can have. For this reason, trucking companies should be managing their talent the way they manage their risks: using metrics and key performance indicators (KPIs). To gauge how well the company is managing its workers, an employer can use these talent metrics to measure its performance.
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Ask the Safety Representative: What is the Difference between an AOBRD and AN ELD?

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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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Why You Should Make Road Tests Part of the Hiring Process

One of the most important responsibilities a motor carrier has is to hire qualified drivers. This critical task, if conducted haphazardly or not performed at all, could have a negative ripple effect across the company and affect productivity, downtime, morale, expenses, and profitability. Due diligence should be given to screening applicants and conducting required background checks, but, arguably, the most reliable method to gauge a driver’s abilities and safety attitude is with a comprehensive road test.
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