The Safety Management Show
The Safety Management Show

Episode 5 · 1 year ago

Best Practices That May Just Save Someone’s Life

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Best practices get a bad rap.

It seems like a lot of the conversations today are centered around “why you should move beyond best practices,” or “why best practices aren’t enough.”

And there is for sure some truth to those statements. But best practices are there for a reason, and a lot of times companies either brush them aside, or are so determined to move beyond best practices that they end up getting themselves in trouble.

On this episode of The Safety Management Show, James Desmond, the Safety Director at Blu Site Solutions, talks all about:

  • Why a college degree isn’t always necessary for a career in safety
  • Why you should treat your safety department as an essential part of your organization.
  • How safety departments can go from being reactive to proactive
  • Why adherence to best practices may just save someone’s life

Hear more stories from safety professionals by subscribing in Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you listen to podcasts.

You're listening to the Safety Management Show, where safety professional share engaging stories about their time in the trenches and the hard earned lessons they've learned along the way. Let's dig in. Thank you for joining a safety management show. I'm your host today. My name is Mike Dean, and today we have a very special guest joining us. He is a proud father and grandfather, been married for twenty four years, been in a trucking industry well over twenty years and he's worked his way up to in the safety feel and now serves as the safety director at blue size solutions. Jim Desmond, everybody, Hey, jim go morning. Thank you for joining us as morning. I are you today so far. Good morning, sir. It's truly a pleasure to be asked to do this. I certainly appreciate the opportunity to share some of that knowledge. Is But a lot of people who helped me along the way, a lot of real real talented mentors, real experience people, and I wouldn't be where I am today without them. Nice, Nice. So tell us about you. Know How you got started. I'm in the safety feel. Give us a little background. More coming up in the industry. Sure. So I've been over the road driver. Actually started driving at nineteen years old, which is pretty much unheard of today, with insurance and things like that. Of course, couldn't go over the road until I was twenty one. That's what I really wanted to do. By ran local I ran sand and gravel prior to that and and literally days after my twenty one birthday I was I was headed off on the road. So I'm second generation. My Dad was a long haul driver, so I knew some of the things that came along with that, both positives and negatives, but at that point in my life I didn't see myself as at five type of person. Yeah, the the whole getting up, go to work commute thing didn't really it wasn't attractive to me and you know, it's it was just a great way to see the country. It's just an invaluable education. You know, we tend to put ourselves in you know, there are people who live in this world, in the inner cities, in the lake that their world is about a six block radius, you know. So yeah, I knew that. You know, I wanted to get out there and see the country and yeah, I was just enamored with it from the time I was a child. But I say all that to say that, you know, you had mentioned that I'm a father, now grandfather. You know, that type of life sometimes doesn't, most of the time, I would say, doesn't, lend itself to family life, and I've lived both sides of that. So when my daughter started getting a little was born, she started standing on her own and she started walking and talking and I said, man, I'm going to miss so much of her life. And I've, like I said, I've lived that from the other side. So I knew it was time to start setting my sights towards home. So I then took a job with an LTL company, pit Ohio Express, name drop a little bit. They're very safety conscious company, Great Leader in the field. You know, ATA president's trophy winners and the list just goes on and on and and I really saw the safety people there. I saw that, you know, they were great to talk to, they were great role models. They saw my talents relatively early and asked me if I would be a driver trainer. HMM. So I got a lot of valuable entry level experience there. They started putting those seeds and built that foundation to get us to where we are today. I moved to moved onto a different carrier and what would that happened is they they had moved the my local facility. They made the commute very excessive at that point. So it was time to move on to find something a little bit closer to the home. So I moved to a different carrier and they had Accident Review Committee hearings. That was available to drivers and the branch manager knew about my past experience as a driver trainer, my interest in safety and just thought I would be a excellent asset to serve on those committees. So, with that said, I served on them very frequently and regularly and the regional safety manager saw...

...he grabbed me off to the side after one of the meetings. One time. It's a while. You ask different questions then all the other drivers. He says what gives and I told him about, you know, the my past experiences and my desire to move into the safety realm at some point and he said, well, I have an opportunity for you. He was stepping up to the director level position and he was looking to replace himself as the regional safety manager. If he put me through the process, we got my resume together, got it in front of the vice president of safety and the rest is history. That was in two thousand and nine and here we are two thousand and twenty one. Nice, Nice, and I see it a lot where you know, you know a lot of safety professionals just kind of get thrown into the position and you know it kind of you don't learning as you go along. So and now safety director at blue size solutions, tell us a little bit about blue side and what you're doing over there. And you know how big the company is. Sure. So, blue site solution, it's a portable sanitation provider, Porta potties, hand sanitizing stations. They we do special events, county fairs, concerts, all those things. We do have portable restroom trailers that are much nicer facilities. Just then the regular plastic port of body when you think of that. So we do have the fleet of commercial vehicles under the definition of FMCSA pump trucks with tank bodies mounted on them. When we're pulling our trailers, we become a commercial motor vehicle by virtue of wait and size. So they saw the need there. They'd always had ocean people in place, but we're desperately lacking on the doot side and our CEO, he comes from the trucking world as well, and recognize the need right away. So through some channels, through some common people that we know, we were put in touch and now I'm I'm with them. So pretty much building a doot compliance group, dot compliance program so to speak, pretty much from scratch. and said the emphasis was all Osha. So, you know, the Ocean Foundation is laid. Of course I'm trying to take that to the next level as well, but the emphasis right now is on dot and, you know, getting people on the same page with that dynamic. You know, people that have been there ten, fifteen years, some of this stuff is new to them because they never it just was never thought of or, you know, brought to their attention. So been a very rewarding experience, definitely from my side. Got Me Out of traditional trucking per se and some of the challenges with that and and broaden my horizons a little bit. Now I'm dealing with a little bit different type of a person. These aren't necessarily people that want to be career truck drivers per se. You know, they we just use the commercial vehicles to do perform the service that we perform, I guess, is the best way to say that. Yeah, Nice. And for my listeners it may not know some of the main differences between dealt and Osha. Can you speak to that and maybe explain that a little bit for some of my listeners that don't know? Sure. So, all in all, when we read the federal regulations, you know we think of the CFRS, the code of federal regulations. So you know you have the whole transportation side and you have the ocean side. It's think of it as a continual, like a card catalog almost, if you will, where you know it covers almost everything conceivable and then you take the transportation and regulations and you split those into aviation and marine and all those different things. But, having said all that, you know, certainly ocean's dealing with employee injuries, employee safety. You know, person shows up to work with ten figures and toes, there's a expectation that the person goes home with ten fingers and toes that operate the way they did when they showed up. So a lot of I mean certainly it's viewed in different ways. There is, you know, specific regulations that you you know you need to dig into. They do work hand in hand, of course. I mean, for example,...

...a entry level driver. Osha has asked the Department of Transportation, specifically Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, which is a branch of Osha. They've asked them to help them with compliance on, say, whistleblower protection. So when you have an entry level driver who hasn't gotten that training through their driving school, we need to make sure entry level driver, being that that has less than a year of verifiable experience, we need to make sure that whistleblower protection is one of the things that they are trained on and we need to document that. So that's kind of an overlap between the two. But when you get into specific dot regulations, there's things like driver qualifications and road testing and all these different things that you wouldn't necessarily do on the ocean side. And then, of course, on the ocean side we have, you know, forklift training, fall arrest protection, if that's applicable, warehousing, all of those types of things, has calm, you name it. We could go into a million different things and pretty much use up all our time talking about yes, we can, but that's that's pretty much yes, in a nutshell, how I would probably properly describe that. Okay, how many drivers are you directly over or responsible for right now? Think the current count is ninety five. I'd have to look exactly visitor. Certainly there's turn over on the lake, but it's ninety five, plus or minus one or two here and there. I didn't get a didn't get a count right before we went to air today. Tell some roughly. Yeah, recent hires in the lake, but it's in and around that area. Okay, Nice. Now in the safety feel, what's a commonly he'll belief that you passionately disagree with. Well, what I've seen is a lot of the job postings and the like that I've seen. Everybody wants a degree. Everybody feels that you have to have a degree to be an effective safety leader. And in my brief autobiography, I guess that we talked about in the beginning. You didn't hear anything about college in there right. So I feel that I'm an effective safety leader. I feel like I found a different way to do it. I came up practical experience, which is a great teacher. You know, if I'm sitting in a driver's room talking to a bunch of drivers. You know I can relate. It makes me very relatable. I call it street cred right. Yeah, so if I'm sitting there, you know I can talk to a driver about taking an eightyzero pound load over Donner's past. You know where somebody went to college, and you know, I'm not discounting college in any way, shape or form for those that had the discipline, the desire and wanted to go to college, but what I'm saying is not the only way. Yeah, and you know in those types of situations where somebody might have skipped that step and went right into a supervisory role like a safety coordinator or even a safety manager, you know straight out of college, they they would have missed that experience. So you know, when you're doing a crash investigation, you don't really know the perspective that twenty years of experience actually driving the vehicle can give you. So there's there's pluses and just to both sides of it. But again, by and large I see that as a prescreen tool and I think some companies are really disenfranchising themselves. There's some really, really good people out there that they're not paying attention to. Just using the degree as a prescreen tool. Yeah, absolutely, and I agree with you. I do think it brings a certain level of respect from your drivers, knowing that, you know, you were a truck driver yourself. So it goes along way and really in a safety messages to your drivers, because I know you know from experience that they will, you know, have more respect for you being that you were in that seat. So yeah, definitely goes a long way. Now when it comes to safety. Is there something that you think everybody should stop doing? Sure, but there's probably quite a few things. We could go on with pretty good list there as well. But one of the things that I would definitely say is a lot of I mean it's course, I want to quantify this. It depends on your company size and if you have that luxury and the demand for it, but a lot of a lot of time safety is viewed as you know, it's not a profit center, it's a it's a liability, so to speak. It's a drain on...

...resources, I guess, for a better way to say it. A lot of companies, for that reason, feel that just managing safety isn't enough. They don't prioritize it in the same way that they would like their operations department, their finance department, per sect. So a lot of times they had accessorial tasks to safety. Good example would be claims management, fuel taxes, those types of things. Just the word tax, right, what are we here and there? We think finance department right off the Bat, right. Yeah. So with that said, but you know fuel taxes and having the proper if the permitting, let's say on the trucks or the IRP tags and the like. You know, safety certainly says yeah, as part of a pre trip inspection, that's a regulatory compliance point. Right. So we tend to own that. We tend to get that. I think a lot of what that's a product of two is just that back in the older days, when some of these companies were structured, safety wasn't as complex of an animal as it is now. So it kind of was a little more of yeah, kind of SAFETIES, waiting around, waiting for the phone to ring, for that crash or that incident or something to be reactive to, as opposed to so many different proactive components now that you need to have for a robust safety program so, you know, safeties a money saving tool. It is not a off it center an effective safety program certainly reduces fines. On the regulatory side. Insurance premiums, I mean insurance premiums right now they're just sky high and there's there's valid reasons for that. You know, we could get into on the transportation side. It might be a term that's new to some people on the industrial hygiene side, but we refer to them as nuclear verdicts. So if you do a quick Google search right now, the highest one that I'm aware of is to type in four hundred and eleven million dollars truck crash Florida and you'll see that there was a two truck company, he was a tow truck operator and there was recently a verdict of four hundred and eleven million dollars awarded against that carrier law for crash related you know. So tell me the safety doesn't have value, right? So if you know that's obviously a tow truck company, so you know the owner. Pretty much, where's all the hats there? Yeah, but I say that you know, think of some of your larger carriers, a thousand, five thousand trucks. If they can award a four hundred eleven million dollar verdict to a small to truck guy. You know, certainly large companies have seen these verdicts, but they haven't seen him to that level yet. You know, the sky is the limit when you think about, you know, the resources that's some of these carriers have. So I say, you can't put a price on safety. Right, tell me the cost of the crash that never happened. How do we quantify that? So if things that we put in place prevented that crash or prevented that in jury, well, how do we quantify that number? Right? Yeah, so again to me, you know, it's a money saving tool where we should be a proactive entity, not a reactive entity. Nice, and I agree with that wholeheartedly. I have a lot of smaller business owners that I tell them safety, you know, it's going to be a business dispense. You know, you got to invest in the safety program so, you know, I think with a lot of business owners that's an area where they can kind of cut costs and say, you know, like you you mentioned the owner with ten different hats. You know, a lot of sus you're not. He's not going to want to pay for a safety program. But when you see the flip side, like you mentioned, a too owner company, you know, four hundred, four million, four hundred million, you know like so these numbers are so it definitely speaks to that and safety. You know, it's a business dispense. You got to invest in a safety program because it's going to save you on on the back end, right, and on that front. If you if you are a smaller carrier, two trucks, five trucks, you should still plug in at least what you're state trucking association, you know, get plugged into these things, start seeing the things that are out there and or find good third party consulting, good, you know, safety firms that can lend you expertise, you know, for for a very small cost relatively speaking. Yeah, absolutely.

Any tips on finding a good third party or what's the tip for that? And how to know? How you know where to we're to look at what's a good place? Well, the first place I would start would be to contact your state state trucking association, if you're in trucking, in industrial hygiene, you know, any of the safety organizations that are out there, National Safety Council, all of those, and get some referrals. Talk to your colleagues who are you guys using? Who you know? You guys aren't large enough to have a safety director at ten trucks probably. So who you using? You know what company is advising you on those things, because even something as simple as your driver qualification files, I mean get into a crash situation and have something missing in a driver qualification file. Now when you get to litigation, the plaintiffs attorney, I don't want to go down that whole road because that's a whole nother discussion for another podcast. And they use what they called the reptile theory. So what they do is they try to paint the carrier as this carnivorous monster that's just out to devour everything in their path. So if you have, you know items missing in your compliance program you know you didn't do that road test, you didn't do that. We talked about the whistleblower protection stuff in your entry level driver training, all these types of things you're not monitoring. Ours a service what the plaintiffs attorney is going to do. A lot of those plaintiffs attorneys have experts, you know, that have been former safety directors or had been in the trade for years, and they say they subpoene all the files and they say, okay, go through these, tell me everything that I can exploit in court, and the next thing you know, with the way they're starting to to sway the jury is, they'll say, and this is a noncompliant carrier. You know, they don't care about the rules in the regulations and it's just off to the races from there. They mission accomplished. They paint you as a someone who doesn't care about public safety. They use phrases like you're not being a good citizen of the safety community and it just snowballs and spirals from there. Yeah, now let me ask it. Coming up in the safety feel is there something that everyone is trying to do that you've discovered a better method for? Yeah, I'm thinking more in terms now at the director level, not necessarily coming up through the ranks, I guess, but you know, if you're in the supervisory level and you need to start making those decisions on hire and staff, I think you know, one of the things that people miss is, you know, we did talk about the value of experience, but certainly experience with transferable skills is just as valuable. For example, you know, we see a lot of people that have bounced you know, it's no secret with the driver turnover. You know, it's really not even uncommon anymore to see a guy who goes to about four different carriers a year at this point. You know, every three months they're driving for a different company. So you know, in the same way, the some of the safety staff, the people that are doing the driver qualifications, people that are monitoring hours of service, you know, we they we take. They tend to get recycled from company to company, you know, and there's probably a reason for that. Maybe you know that it's just what they've always done and it's kind of stale. Maybe they haven't been given opportunities to advance. So you know, you got to get to know the people that you have when you walk in the door. You got to continue to develop those people. You got to you know, one of the first conversations I have is, you know, what are what do you think are your strengths? Are you happy doing what you're doing? Is there something maybe that I should be looking towards the future? Maybe if I can get you some additional training, it get you plugged in with the right resources. You know, do you want to advance or are you just happy where you're at yeah, I've been very effective with hiring character and then teaching the skills. I was in a situation where I didn't have the luxury, I didn't have the budget, to hire experience safety professionals, so I found people with transferable skills, like we just were mentioning. I...

...found the guy who was just flat out tired of accounting. He had an accounting and bookkeeping background and I said perfect, there's my analysts, there's my citations and violations guy. And these people are hungry to learn. They're looking in different avenues because for a reason they're, like said, they're tired of doing what they were doing day in and day out. But we can use those skills and we can open up a whole new world to them and I I used to love nothing more than to see in somebody that came from a different environment. Then they're a little overwhelmed at first. You know a lot of this is new and you know you try not to lake too much at their doorstep on day one, but I used to love to watch the lightbulbs go off in their head when they get it, you know, when it finally all clicks, and I find that to be so rewarding. You know, if we're safety people, we really you know, what we want to do is make an investment in people. We want to give people the knowledge how to work safely from day to day. But how about investing in our own people, our own staff, you know, developing them, building them up, and those are going to be loyal people. You know, you just heard about how I talked about my mentors. Right, you're never going to forget those people. You never going to forget those people who made a real difference in your life. You know, I know of one already that matter of fact, to that I've mentored that are now leading their own safety groups. You know, I'm very proud of that. Nice, nice, and again that kind of goes back to one of the leaves you know that you disagree with as far as not, you know, as a case in that that's part of it. But using that character and practice cab being practical, you know, critical thinking. So that's is definitely key and it speak to that. Now, what's a failure that you failure that you've experienced that you think many are are head it for, could be headed for? I think we get so busy day to day. You know, I know myself. I try to do the absolute best job. I try to give everybody I work for a hundred, ten percent right but in so doing we tend to isolate ourselves. We get so tunnel visioned on what we're doing day in and day out that we fail to take those couple of minutes and pick up the phone and call a colleague, you know, get a different perspective. Hey, are you dealing with the same challenges that I'm dealing with? You know, what're of the things that you're see and what are some of the best practices that you're that you're seeing success with? Stay plugged in with your colleagues. You know, that's that's also too an awkward conversation out if you find yourself in a situation where it maybe the company didn't do so well and they didn't really cut you in on that and now you find yourself unemployed or, you know, made or making cutbacks or for whatever reason, that's a you know, that's that's kind of a difficult thing to call somebody haven't spoken to in two years and go hey, you know of anybody up here the tire and so, you know, even just on the practical side, right, so yeah, you know, not even just to keep yourself sharp on the professional side, but just to kind of keep yourself plugged in. Yeah, you know, and again you do that through different associations. Right. I look very forward to go into trucking association spring conferences, annual conferences. You know, it's a place to where you get that boost from time to time. Right, you know, a lot of times in our environment we get a lot of bad news. We're always hear about people hurt. Yeah, hearing about people whose lives were changed. You know, a crash, you know somebody was seriously injured in a crash, and you know, we get that doom and gloom a lot. Yeah, it's good also for to get with people and get some recognition you know, different you know the groups that I've been involved in. You know, I've gotten awards and recognition in the lake and that's pretty rewarding. Been Involved in stay trucking association safety committees and those types of things as well. So that's a that's a great way to do it. The other thing I kind of took that as a multifacet one of the things we do as well too, is we get ourselves too rigid, right, sometimes you can't tell the difference between your safety person and the regulatory officer you'd have. You don't want to be that guy that, when the director of operations comes and says, Hey, we got this problem, that all you do is heap on problems. You don't help them find workable solutions. You know. Yeah, certainly there are nonnegotiables, right.

So when the regulation say must and shall, there's not a lot of gray area there. Yeah, but when there's when there's times where they use a should or May, you know, okay, if there's a little bit of room in there, be an asset. Always be approachable. You don't want to be, you know, that safety cop or a regulatory officer. You just going to lose all that street cred we talked about. Yeah, you know, there's nothing more painful than talking to a driver or even another management entity from a different department that says, yeah, I guess you forgot what it was like when you sat you know, when you did what we do. Yeah, and that hurts, it really hurts. So don't ever lose your perspective where you come from. And I had one of those safety mentors that I was referring to earlier. He preached to me of something that stayed with me forever. So they we need to look at a three legged stool approach. Right. For a company to be successful there has to be quality, production and safety all in equal measures. So if we try to encase ourselves in a bubble and try to be too safe, I mean it sounds crazy coming from a safety professional. Yeah, but if we cripple ourselves worried with too much focus on safety, we may not do a quality job, but we're certainly not going to produce so in that in that late so I say that. So, you know, a road becomes snow covered. Okay, what would be the safest thing? Ground the fleet, right, but we have customer demands. We have, you know, people need the product. So certainly, you know, when it's a nice situation in the roads are impassable, we have to recognize that. That's one of the musts. I guess right, muster shall, but you can drive safely in the snow. If you operate in the snow, seek the appropriate training. Yeah, you know, make sure that your drivers all understand the risks associated with driving in snow and those types of situation. Rain, high winds, all those things very important that they know when it is time the ground and shut it down. But there are times where, you know, if our competition is finding a way to push through and they're doing it safely, what does that say to us with our customers? Right? So we need to we need to find that balance and we do that through higher in the right people, training them up and then trusted them to do the right job. Okay, okay, now let me ask you this. If you have a situation to where you know you may have a little extreme whether you can steal drive, you know, in that condition. But what if the driver says, Hey, I don't feel comfortable? Is that a possibility? It absolutely is, and it's in the rag. So we talked about the difference between Osher regs and FMCSA regs, right or dot regs. So the drivers the captain to that ship and it's actually in the rags that if the driver's word is law in terms of of if he feels that that vehicles not safe, the conditions are unsafe. And you know, do you want to be that guy who presses somebody into an uncomfortable situation and you find out they were right after all? So we talked about, you know, prior experience, you know, going over Donner's pass, and for anybody doesn't know Donner's pass, it's in California on I eighty and it's a twenty eight mile continuous down grade. You go from I believe it's Ninezero feet at the peak down to a thousand foot and it really doesn't plateau any point through there. And if you, you know, you go off of that and the conditions are not favorable, you know, and you get into trouble early in that descent, it's not going to get any better. So you know, if you have a situation where you have a driver that's uncomfortable, he says, man, you know, I tackle this in the day late but I'm not comfortable doing it at night, so I'm going to shut it down. We're going to wake up in the morning and hit it at first light. That would be a wise decision. Yeah, maybe there might be patches of ice things like that that are much more difficult to see at night than they would be in the daytime. So yeah, you know, that would be a perfect example of that. Yeah, nice and again I like how that ties in to you being in the truck before. Nor from experience what that drivers talking about when you're talking about going down Donner's pass as opposed to having a safety director and manager.

That never you know, being in a truck, you know they just have that book noted. Is that? So it goes a long way. He may not understand that and say well, now, I did a weather check and you should be okay. You know. So that speech, and it's called connect it, you know, goes back to being in a truck, being practical, being able to relay that message to your guide. Now I want to kind of speak to some of the resources, maybe tools, channels and people aren't using correctly. To as full of this. In your opinion, look at what you already have in house right. A lot of times, you know, if you again, I'm very transportation geared, but a lot of transportation companies use what they call a tms management program so a transportation management program. So they do their dispatch rate through that, they're billing right through that, keep all their do all their record keeping on the customer side. That way handle their their loss prevention side through there. I worked for a carrier one time that I came in I followed a gentleman that was quite senior he was seventy nine years old when I took over. He was not technologically sophisticated, to say the least. I applauded his efforts what he did do. He did at least get in and try to use excel and things like that. But there was a whole suite of resources in that particular tms system that had sat there. The company had been paying for it as part of their subscription and it's out there for seven years gathering dust, completely unused. So I made that my top priority to get in there, learn that system top to bottom and start utilizing it. I set my own goal, I guess, to get that up and run an inside a ninety days, and I met that goal and, you know, the CFO, the owner of the company, they were very pleased because now they were getting reports that they never saw before. You know, they could ask me, you know what, what's our biggest loss that we're having? You know, what are our drivers that are on that radar screen? You know, are unsafe drivers? What are what kind of losses are we seeing on an individual driver basis? I could now give them that information within minutes and send it over to them. You know, I could. I could pull a driver safety report on an individual driver. Nobody that was there prior to me was able to do that. You know, those are the kind of things that, you know, that wins you a lot of favor with your company as well. I didn't ask for them to purchase anything. They already had it. Save those resources. Save those resources to be able to join those state associations, be able to invest in your employee development, be able to you know, a lot of times it's the top guy that goes to these conferences in the lake. I was very proud to be able to take two or three of my staff with me when time allowed. Yeah, you know, they get to see it firsthand again, grooming them for the future. You know, those that said that they wanted to advance those it said that they were interested in possibly being a coordinator or manager level later on. So, yeah, take them, show them what's show them what lay ahead. You know, get them to start networking with other people. One of the things that I kind of laugh and say is that if we're doing our job correctly on the safety side, yeah, we render ourselves obsolete. So, you know, if the safety director takes a week off, that shouldn't be a big deal. Things should just continue to go on right. Yeah, if we you get to the point where your safety program is, I hate to use the word, but I guess not there. I really don't have a better one right now. But police from within. Yeah, so once you start getting to the point where, let's say you have three four drivers sitting around, you know, out in their trucks, and you know it's nightfall and they see a guy trying to leave out of the yard with three or four mark relates out on the trailer and a headlight out, well, yeah, okay, safety is going to find out about that when they get the find on the roadside inspection or just get pulled over. ME. Oh, because it's obviously that's in what they call an observable defect. Yeah, how cool would that be? Those two or three, your four drivers are sitting around their trucks, get on the radio and say, where do you think you're going? You're to make us all look bad. Hit back to the shop and...

...get those things fixed, you know. And when that kind of thing starts to happen, that's when we've really done our job. What you've done is it's not do this or else. What you've done is again, those light bulbs have gone off right. They understand that it affects everybody. Yeah, no person is an island when it comes to safety or just even in their job in general. So if that driver goes out, you know they get that violation or they have a poor road side inspection. You know, typically if a guy's leaving with three or four marker lights out on the trailer and a head laid out, there's probably issues with break adjustments and all those kinds of things that he didn't catch on the pre trip. So now we've got free sitting on the side of the road out of service until somebody comes out and makes the necessary repairs. So that becomes a security issue. That becomes even bigger safety issue. Or, God forbid, the break problem was so severe that it resulted in a crash. Now the freight never makes it to its destination and we have at a minimum and injury, let alone, you know, God forbid, a fatality or a disabling injury. So you know, just with all of that said, if people are starting to understand that, you know, every rank and file employee understands that safety starts with them, and it truly does. That that's when you know, we hear all these trendy terms of safety culture. Well, that's when you have a positive safety culture. Everyone has a safety culture, every organization has a safety culture. That can be bad, that can be positive. So in this sense, you know, that's the foundation towards a positive safety culture. I'll give you another practical example on that that a lot of people can relate to. So back in the day, you know, when Derek cheeter was part of the Yankees and they had those that that run of I think it was, for championships in five years. So when you you know, you think in baseball, in September they call up minor leaguers, they expand the rosters, they call it minor leaguers, to see, you know, if they have some get these guys to face major league competition and September and see if they have what it takes for consideration for the roster next year. So let's say you get a guy who you know, he's one of the September call ups. He's a he's a minor leaguer that you call up, and he hits a weak ground ball the second base all right, so he takes about three steps towards first base, you know, he's not legging it out and he assumes he's going to get thrown out. He takes three steps and a peels off towards the dug out. Now do you think that the manager, Joe Tory, at that time, was going to have to deal with that player? Now, with guys like jeter on the team, jeter was going to meet him at the top step and go, if you want to be here tomorrow, you are. We Hustle every play out. We you know, never assume that you're going to get thrown out. That's when you have, in my view, of positive safety culture. That's when it comes from within. Nice. Nice and you know again speaks to you creating that culture by how you know you're going over certain procedures, how you relate to your team, and it's a team effort. That's a great example. You mention some achievements awards. Are there any particular achievements all awards, that you're more proud of any others? Yeah, I had another stop on the tour, I guess, so to speak, was I had built another safety program at dot program from the ground up. Almost a mirror image there was the people that were in place where ocean specialist, environmental specialists, and they made some acquisitions and next thing you know they had ninety commercial vehicles and they looked around and said, I know, there's a lot here that we don't know about operating commercial vehicle safely on the regulatory compliance in the lake. And that particular director of safety, again, she was a an environmental health and safety specialist ocean background. Knew she knew virtually nothing about dot regulation. So that's where I came in. So I took that position and built the program I am. I cannot take credit for it because I didn't drive a single mile in any...

...of those commercial vehicles. But what I do take credit for is creating an environment through training, through policy, through all these you know, all the different things that go along with running a safety program good hiring criteria, support for the management, you know, the direct supervisors of these drivers. And in our first year of eligibility we took state of Florida Safe Driving Award for our class. We had zero recordable crashes for the entire year and that's to me. I'm very, very proud of that. Again, I can't take credit for it. You know, we start taking credit for those and we start getting puffed up and, you know, getting your chest out there a little too far. Well, you got to take blame when a truck crashes, and you know you really can't take blame for that either, unless you were grossly negligent and didn't provide the training and things like that, because you didn't actually drive the truck. But when you put an environment together, we're good, safety profess are good. Safe, professional drivers can thrive. That's the proof right there. It is a this can be done. It can be done safely. Drivers can drive vehicles without being involved in crashes. Once in a while, you know there is a crash that's going to a car. It's just you know somebody's going to have an error of judgment, there's going to be things that are out of your control. But you know, that's why I don't want to go down a whole another road, but that's why we make preventability determinations right we we say, okay, what roll did our driver have? You know, was this something that could have been prevented, or was this something that there was just no way, despite our drivers best efforts, could this have been prevented? A perfect example is that, as we're stopped at a traffic signal, are lights are illuminated, driver's foots on the brake, the break lights are properly illuminated. Let's say the somebody that's following is looking at a text or something and crashes into the rear of us. There's absolutely nothing more we could have done to prevent that crash from occurring. So but again, you know, we didn't even have any of those. So some of that I'm sure we were fortunate, but a lot of that to you know, you look at your driver. Did we do anything to put ourselves in harm's way? Could we have stopped maybe a little more gradually? Could we have hit the brakes in advance to alert the driver behind us that, you know, there's a pending reason to stop? You know, don't just hit the brakes once and stop. You know, hit the brakes, tap the brakes, get that light to light, you know, get it the flat straight in their eyes and then gradually come to a stop. So even even the things that would seem like they're completely non preventable, there are things we could do possibly to to lessen the risk, I guess, of being involved in that. You know, drivers out on the interstate, you know look at the situation there and Yep, following distance is key, right, but don't allow yourself to be boxed in either. You know, don't allow people to decide, you know, or to become encroached or boxed in. You know, those are all good tools of defensive driving that can help with Cresh preventability as well. Okay, nice, and you know you speaking about accidents or whatnot. Can you kind of walk us through your procedure when accident one of your drivers happen? What's the kind of the next steps and will procedures do you go through when that happens? Sure? Well, back in the day we would gather all the information we could get. You know, we would, if possible, we'd get somebody out to the scene, dependent on the severity the crash, you know, if it was right local, we go out to the scene ourselves. I took a several crash investigation courses learn how to diagram the scene, all the things that that the police learn as well, certainly not as well as they do, but you know, just the cliffs notes or the Brief Synopsis On it, so you understand how to handle the scene and the like, and that's that's a valuable tool. But with proper training your you know, if it's a situation where you can't get somebody out there, time won't allow whatever. Through proper training you can teach your drivers how to gather proper information at the scene, how to take pictures, pictures, pictures, pictures, if we say, pictures worth a thousand words, right, so you know that I mean...

...take pictures, even if they don't think it's going to be helpful or useful. Take pictures of vehicles at final rest. Take pictures of those skid marks, take pictures of, you know, that bottle of beer that's open in the passenger side of the vehicles, the the other parties vehicle. You know, show that that cell phone sitting on the passenger seat. You know, show all of those things. But now, in today's world, I can't even begin to talk about the value of cams and I'm not here to promote anybody'Shcam, any one in particular, anything, because that's not what this forum is for. But I will tell you I cannot believe the result we've gotten using cams. Both you know, we talked about the proactivity versus the reactivity. Right. So when we have the craft scene we started with reactivity. Now I'm kind of taking that into a proactivity situation where the driver behavior has improved incredibly. We've over the past ten weeks. We just literally put a new program in place. We purchased Ashcams and installed them. We got them fully operational by the end of the first quarter of this year. So just in the ten weeks since I've noticed a twenty, three, point five percent in behavioral improvement. So the one that we are using generates a driver's safety score and we've taken that score from six twenty nine, week one, two, seven, seventy seven. Last week and week to date so far we're right in and around that number. So it's having lasting effects as well. The other byproduct of that is we've just in those ten weeks there were two vehicular crashes. So this will get us back on the point where now I had irrefutable video evidence of exactly what happened in the crash, exactly what the other vehicles actions were. I knew how long that the other party had to react to the crash. I know for sure that our driver had stopped and made a full stop at the intersection before encroaching the intersection. I also know that our driver went a full five seconds in. He started motion five seconds before impact occurred. And I also know that our driver had limited visibility to his left where the other vehicle came from. So when our driver did look to the left, it was clear before he started to encroach the intersection. So we were able. You know, that's just one of two crashes. Another crash we had was a vehicular rollover which resulted in a workers comp claim as well for some injuries on that side, and we were able to deny both of those crashes and the workers comp claim. I can't get in the specifics because that could go legal etc. But with that evidence we you know, we've already started making significant progress towards paying for those cams and I'm sure there's going to be resulting savings on the insurance rateable side when we come up for renewal. So but yeah, haven't having those can't those cams and you know, it just makes my job so easy now on the preventable, non preventable side because I have all the facts. It's not an it's not here say anymore and trying to piece together what happened. I can look at it and in virtually in real time. I can slow it down, I can blow things up, I can look at those details. We did the two way cameras, we did the forward facing till. We see what the driver sees. But I also we put the driver facing cameras so we can say, yes, our driver did not have a cell phone in his hand, he was not distracted prior to the crash. Yes, our driver did come to a complete stop. Yes, our driver did look both ways. I can say that with confidence. And even if you do have a situation where your driver is at fault and you guys are dead to rights, you want to know that information before you try to defend yourself and you find out that somebody else has information. You did. Absolutely so ten out of ten attorneys...

...are going to say I want to know that going in, because if we have that, we talked about that four hundred and eleven million dollar nuclear verdict that we refer to before. No attorney worth is saw it would have let that go to trial. They would have settled that no matter what it took, before it went to trial and even put that in the hands of a jury. So I can't even begin to tell you the val value of this technology that's out there. And, Oh yeah, by the way, on that reptile theory, if you're not utilizing a cam at this point, one of the things that will be used against you is we talked about being good citizens of the safety community. The planeiffs attorney will take you apart. Will say, well, that technology has been in place now for several years. This is nothing new. So you know, is there something that are you embarrassed by your driver's behavior or is there are things that you're trying to hide? Well, my answer is now we employed them. So one of the things that they'll say, you know, for the companies that don't, is that you're not being a good citizen of the safety community, you are not doing your part to add to highway safety, doing all that you can do to make the highways a safer place. Absolutely not. I mean as you do is did you receive any type of push back from many of your drivers before you install the cameras at the camps? Absolutely, before and during. So you know, a lot of thing. We've seen all manner of different ways to try to block the cameras. We actually had a guy who was he thought he was being a real slick and he took vasiline or some other substance and put it on the windshield so it made a blur and he did it on the rear facing one as well. In some of our mounts they can actually take the sun visor and flip it down in front. But what they don't realize is we actually get an alert when the one, one of the AMBRAS is blocked. So we simply we get an alert sent to our inbox or just see if we happen to monitor on to the dashboard and we get an alert. So I've already that would have been a situation where I never would have seen because we don't just and ask Hims to. There's a misnomer there. It's not just set up where you can spy on your drivers at any given time. Right. So you need to have an alert, something that's generated. I mean certainly. Yeah, if there's a situation where you know there was an interesting event that didn't necessarily trigger an alert, you know, maybe a property damage alert were you know one of your drivers a customers claim and you know they tore up some landscaping or something. Okay, if you know you can go back in and dig in around that timeframe and see what happened. But none of us have the time nor the desire to just be spying on our drivers, what they're having for lunch, where they're going, what they're doing. You know, if you can't trust your your drivers, they don't belong in your truck. But we do want to have that information, like I alluded to before, we want to be able to exonerate our driving force. We want to know. Yeah, for you know those questions that I had alluded to before. No, for sure, he did not have a cell phone in his hand, he was not engaged in a handheld cell phone conversation. Yes, he was using appropriate Bluetooth technology and all those things. And we want to we want to be able to state that with confidence, with no wavering in our voice, because if it does go to trial, that's exactly what the attorney's going to exploit. But yeah, yeah, to answer that question yet. But now we have several drivers now that you know again this score we've you know, it's sets up a pseudo competition amongst drivers. If you talk to driver, everybody's the best driver, right, who drives better to you? No, I'll never had something to say. I'm not really a good driver. Well, now, are you the best of the best? Okay, what was your score this week? We've got a guy that's so conscientious that I was just talking to his manager yesterday, as a matter of fact. And if he doesn't, you start with a baseline score of a thousand, and if he ducks from there every week. So if he doesn't maintain a thousand or even exceed a thousand by taking proactive step, so like, for example, at a at a...

...at a merge on the highway, so the camera will recognize both vehicles in that so when the when the other vehicle merges onto the roadway and our driver backs off of the throttle to create safe cushion, safe space and safe passage for that merge to occur, they get what's called a driver's star and that can actually add bonus points to their score. So if, well, his name's Daniel. I won't go any more specific than that, but if Daniel doesn't get a thousand or a thousand and twenty in a given week, will he's all been out of shape and that's the kind of problems we want to have on the safety side. So you know if he's if he's not the top guy in the fleet. They're something wrong and I love that you know these guys. And again I said that I can definitely show you quantifiable numbers that say that our driver behavior improved significantly and it's starting to show some staying power. So maybe we've plateaued around seven, seventy seven for a while until we're ready to take the next step. But I've also been able to identify who my true problem drivers are and where I need to devote those resources immediately to, you know, instead of just saying, well, I'm going to do defensive driving with everybody in the fleet. Now I know who my top ten targets are right now and and or my top locations that I need to address with urgency before there's a problem. Yeah, no, and yeah, that's a great way to be able to monitor that in the you could pin point specifically who you need to address it as. That's a great way where you kind of surprised by the result of the DASH camps and how will it's going so far? Yeah, yeah, like I said, not that they work, because I know certainly from past experience and from talking to colleagues in the lake that they do work. But just like I said in ten weeks, twenty three and a half percent. So if I told you you could give me a thousand dollars and in ten weeks I'll give you a twenty three and a half percent return on that, you'd sign up for that all day long. Right, absolutely, where you, where you? That's a on your money. Yeah, all right. So, if I could tell any safety professional in here I could. We could improve your metrics twenty three and a half percent in a ten week period. And, like I said, it's not just doesn't look like a flash in the pan. There's been steady improvement. That's been quantifiable improvement, steady improvement and it looks like it has day in power. So again, like I said, we hit that seve hundred and seventy seven as a high last week and so far, when I logged on, we're right in and around that number this week. So I have no reason to believe we won't meet or exceed that number. You know. So yeah, I'm very surprised by how fast it would do. You speculator then, as a possibility that the government may mandate have a cams and the truck is that's something they might be coming down to pipeline. I don't think it's going to go there. Well, what I am so I did some insurance work in the lake last year, some independent work, and I was doing risk assessment evaluations for insurance companies and most of the time they wanted me to report back whether or not pay their word cams or some other form of effective telematics in the vehicles and that they were being used effectively, because it's becoming a bind requirement more and more and more, and even if it doesn't become a bind requirement for your policy, those carriers are going to pay more for their insurance just because they aren't employing those tools. So I can't even begin to tell you how worthwhile an investment that is. So again we said we were able to do a full denial of to vehicular crash. is very serious vehicular crashes. In some cases both of them resulted in rollover events, whether it was our vehicle or the other vehicle. One was a worker's complaim and we know a lot of times those get more expensive than then the vehicular I sho itself. You know, if you're if you're paying disability for somebody, you know, God forbid permanent disability, or you know you have to pay for, you know, that person's long term care treatment. That gets expensive, you know, on your on your insurance. I know of...

...several that have gone into you know, several millions of dollars in reserves. So you know, so a hundred fifty thousand dollar investment, let's just say. Let's throw that number out there. That's about what our investment was in it. We've already pretty much paid those dividends back, Yady, and I mean we're talking about in one court Nice, N so you know, that's that's a pretty fast return on absolutely absolutely and then, you know, it's beaks. It goes back to, you know, what we mentioned earlier about investing in safety and is paying off on the back end. So and a speak of that, we're going to get ready to wrap it up. So, but I like to safety as serious, safety as real. I know I have a lot of clients that, you know, think that hey, ocean is not out there, dealt would have you don't take safety seriously. I like to you know, have you tell a story, any horror story sort of speak something that could any bad accidents or, you know, something to do to driver and negligence? Is there any type of store you could share with us the kind of something you won't ever forget. No, yeah, we did do this. This more on the ocean side. But you know, when I had told you my experience when I started moving from driver into the safety realm, was LTL carriers, which, for those that don't know, that's less than truckload, so that you're not on drop any names, which you know the who the players are in those games. So yeah, they're the guys that come out and pick up one drum, one Palette, you know, that type of thing as it come, as opposed to come in and pick it up, you know, a full truck load and taking it from one place to the other. So to make that operation work, you have your local what they call pd guys and they go out and pick up free bring it back to the common location. All of that free is transferred to what they call line haul units. So any free that's head and West. So let's say you know you have a place here in Florida, okay, so you know anything that's head and West. So you know that gets put on a truck. Maybe the next stop is Houston. So all that stuff starts migrating West towards Houston to get that accomplished. All that free us to be handled, whether it's by free handlers themselves that are using hand trucks, Pallet Jacks, those types of things, which there's also a lot of forklift operations, and that creates a whole lot of other issues on the ocean side in terms of training and all that. But one of the things, and I can't take full credit for it, but I can just talk about the effective or of the the effectiveness of putting proper safety protocols in place, no matter how trivial or how minor you think they might be. So wet had a situation where the guys on the forklifts had been getting a bunch of particulates into their eyes, lots of dust, little pieces of wood, those kinds of things, and you know they were they were using the eyewash stations a lot trying to get these things, you know, out of their eyes. So our vice president, a safety you know, we came to a consensus and his ruling was that everybody that operated a forklift was to wear safety glasses period. If so, if you're going to be on a forklift, you're going to wear safety glasses or goggles. We had a situation. I'll skip right to it, you know, not to be Labor the point, but we had a catastrophic event where there was a fuel leak under the engine cowling. This was an LPG machine, so propane, and I learned a lot more about propane and LPG machines than I ever cared to as a result of that. But it was a cooler morning, the propane was heavier than the ambient air and sunk to the bottom. So the engine compartment filled up with propane. What I found out in our investigation is that in a ten percent or greater concentration propane becomes more or less spontaneously combustible and explosive. So there was a an unknown source of ignition. My strong theory is that it was the alternator field creating spark and that fork truck immediately burst in the flames and the operator was surrounded by flames and sustained significant burns throughout about ninety percent of his body. One of the biggest things that helped us with the ocean investigation, and you know we did all our friends of investigation and...

...the like. One of the biggest things, and and even keep the ocean, aside just the welfare of the employee, because that's what we truly should be concerned about, is that he had burns all on his entire face except in the outline of the safety glasses. So we are absolutely certain that the safety glass is saved that man's eyesight, or he'd be blind right now. And I am happy to say that he made it full and one hundred percent complete recovery and actually, inside of about a year, returned to full duty, nice with with one hundred percent of his eyes say intact. So we never know, right that that started out as just putting a best practice in place to protect against particulate injuries and we saved the man's eyesight in a catastrophic event. Yeah, through that. So you know, and I will say this because again I can't take credit for all of it, it was a full team effort from the whole safety group, from the specialist that we had on staff. And you know, this was a larger organization, but we had zero in fines or citations that were able to stick against ice on the ocean side for an. And when I talk about a catastrophic event, we deployed twenty three sprinkler heads from the fire suppression system and when the guy came out to replace those sprinkler heads he said never have I ever replaced twenty three sprinkler heads in a single fire event. Because obviously that fire, you know, got onto the dock. You know they're free caught on fire. That the trailer that was being loaded caught on fire. There was are a Pallette of airsolt cans on that trailer that caught fire. So when I arrived on the scene there were flaming air asolt cans firing across the dock. So I mean it was a pretty catastrophic event. But we were able to prove through the forensic evaluation that it was a just a freak thing that there was a fuel line that that started the leak. That could not have been foreseen through normal means. A Pre trip inspection would not have shown that. And again, the key thing there the oh no, Oh cheffines or citations is one thing, but the key thing there is that employee did maintain his eyesight and return to one hundred percent full duty in about a year. So that that's just that's just something that's just tremendous. You just never know how any minor best practice can affect a greater outcome. Absolutely it's a blessing that that turned out worked out well. was simple things like you the PPE wearing those guy goes. That's a great story and it worked out well on both for both parties, for him and the company. So, but before I let you go, is there anything that you want to leave as with, anything that we didn't touch on? Any messages that you want to leave our listeners with before we go now? Now, I think we had a great discussion. I think we there's a lot of food for thought here and the things that we had discussed. I'm you just again. I guess it would just be to reiterate the point that, no matter how minor you think of best practice might be, you know you're just trying to prevent a minor injury. You know, if you take care of those those small things, I guess you know, on the industrial side, many of us are familiar with heinrichs triangle right or heinrichs analysis. So you know, if you take care of those small things. Yeah, I know it's been disputed, you know, and I and and I would tend to agree. I don't think it's a hard and fast ratio like that. But I think the message is good. The message says essentially that if you take care of those small things that it least if the big things going to take longer before it happened, before it actually happens. Right. So, you know, if we're being reckless, you can expect, you know, injuries and incidents to ramp up to a greater level of severity quicker, whereas if we're have a robust safety program a good safety culture and all those things that we talked about are in place, I think those types of catastrophic events that I talked about will probably be a one off. And, like I said, in that case, you know, that really could not have been prevented. It really couldn't. It was a...

...situation that the forensic investigation of the machine, it just it was a situation where there was just a leak that couldn't have been detected. It was a gas leak and you know it's not. It wasn't a liquid like gasoline. But you know, with all the other things that were in place, you know, the employee was wearing a seat belt, we were able to, you know, say that you know, yes, the employee suffered injury, but it was not a fatality, and a lot of that was in part of all the best practices and the attention that was paid to safety, you know, for many, many weeks, months and years prior to that. Yeah, was no coincidence that that had the best possible outcome. Okay, Nice, Nice, and thank you for leaving us with that, Jim. It was a pleasure we got. There's a pleasure beating you as a pleasure speak it to you. I feel like I have a safety contact, somebody I clean on to, even if we could tell a little trucking stories. We thank you for joining us day, you for taking a time out of your busy schedule. Thank you for joining us in the safety management show again. I'm your host, Mike being with Safety Services Company, and until next time, stay say. In need of a blueprint for workplace safety and compliance? Safety Services Company is North America's leading provider of Safety Training and compliant solutions. We supply custom safety manuals and policies and onsite and online training solutions that will enhance the safety of your workplace, and our compliance services will save you time and resources, guaranteeing peace of mind. With eighteen years in the industry, we have a proven track record of helping customers achieve better safety outcomes by providing customized solutions that fit the unique needs of each business. To learn more, had to safety services companycom thanks for listening to the Safety Management Show. To hear more stories from safety leaders, subscribe to the show in your favorite podcast player. If you enjoyed the show, leave us a rating. Until next time, stay safe.

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