Learning Curve: Facts are key in fleet safety

by Tracy Clayson
Tracy Clayson is director of client development of
In Transit / CPC Logistics Canada. t.clayson@callcpccanada.com

Safety in the transportation workplace could be compared to a golf swing. It is a learned behavior that is very difficult to repeat consistently. Plus, like a golf swing, working safely has so many moving parts and factors that go into it, that the more you think of it, the more clouded your thoughts and actions can become. Because of this, fleet safety programs are among the most difficult ideas to communicate effectively to drivers. The amount of

information available is almost infinite, and being able to condense the most important ideas so they are top of mind for a driver in daily life is next to impossible. In our company, we put a major emphasis on safe

ty in every aspect of our work. It is one of the most important and valuable investments we can possibly make. However, that investment does not always provide the returns we would hope. That is why, when our company joined forces with CPC Logistics, I was eager to learn about how they structure their safety conversations. Over the past couple years, CPC has established a program called “Safety Is A CPC FACT”, with FACT being short for Focus, Anticipate, Correct and Talk.

The FACT program is used not only in introducing new safety topics, but also reviewing accidents, near misses, injuries and other workplace risks. Whether in a group setting or doing a tailgate meeting with an individual driver, the FACT program allows the manager to break each message down to its essence.

Focus – Carrying a focus throughout the day is a challenge. However, focus in this line of work is critical to success, and lack of focus usually introduces an increase in risk.

Anticipate – Being able to prepare for and anticipate risky circumstances is another critical part of a safe work environment. Mitigating situations where accidents can happen is key here.

Correct – It is valuable to constantly emphasize the ability to recognize risky situations when they happen and to recap situations after they happen, as well as correcting the behaviours.

Talk – Communication is always the key to make any initiative more effective. Promoting discussion be-tween drivers has led to some true breakthroughs in improving the safety culture.

Putting structure around the safety message with the FACT breakdown has been an effective way for every manager in the organization, from the C-Suite to the manager visiting remote locations, to be consistent. More importantly, it encourages and promotes a culture of open dialogue about preparation, execution and the real-life challenges that happen through the course of a day. FACT is memorable, brief and shareable. There is nothing overwhelming about it.

Practicing the FACT program is also a powerful testimonial to our customers about how our company values safety. It clears a path for safety to be at the forefront of every conversation, where it rightfully belongs. This message is delivered at every single touch point, from the first interview to the exit interview and every place in between. It is present in the company newsletter, the company wellness program, in the company email signatures and on the company voice-mail greetings. In order to be effective, it has to be ubiquitous.

We share our results openly with both customers and drivers, so this is not something that can (or should) be hidden.Installing an overarching safety message is a great way to encourage an attitude of ownership and accountability. It is not only good for the company brand, it is good for the people who drive the brand, our most valuable and important stakeholder.