Wednesday, July 8, 2020
Monday, June 1, 2020
Keeping things in perspective
In real estate the common saying is “Location, location, location!” After several years with one of the nation’s largest commercial vehicle insurance carriers, I have come to understand that managing vehicle safety results is often about “Driver quality, driver quality, driver quality!”
When hiring a driver, it would be nice to have a crystal ball to see into the future. Barring an intervention from the spirit world, the best available predictor of future performance is evaluating past performance. However, in making this evaluation you need to interpret the historical data in its proper context to achieve a high level of confidence more accurately predicting future performance. Driver quality metrics used in this analysis include:
- Experience driving
- Experience with similar equipment
- Driving record
- Accident history
These metrics must not just be considered individually, but on a combined and interrelated basis.
Experience driving – The longer a person has been driving, the more situations that person has encountered. These situations sometime require quick and almost instinctive responses. Critical decision errors due to lack of driving experience can lead to serious crashes. When evaluating any driver candidate be sure to determine how long the person has been driving. The length of time a person has been driving will also have an impact on how the applicants driving record and accident history should be interpreted. Not all motor vehicle reports (MVRs) should be weighted equally. You cannot equally compare the driving history of a driver who has only had a driver’s license for a year to a more experienced driver as the exposure level is much different. Keep in mind the less experienced driver's safety performance may be for a limited driving exposure of possibly 10,000 miles or less. The confidence level for correlating past performance to future results is reduced when the candidate has only been driving a short period. When you run an MVR and see no citations, be sure to put it into perspective relative to how long they have been driving.
Experience with similar equipment – Experience refers to actual time operating similar equipment of the same size and arrangement you are hiring them for. If a driver applicant will be required to have a commercial driver’s license (CDL), determine how long the driver has had the required license type and endorsements. Driving a 50,000-pound snowplow in foul weather is a far different experience than driving a passenger car. In evaluating experience, you need to carefully look at the driver’s application to see what type of equipment they were operating. Also consider how long it has been since they have operated the equipment. Determine the percentage of time spent driving versus other duties. Consider the driving environment the applicant was operating in. Factor in if the driving results were compiled in rural areas or highly congested urban areas and what environment they will be driving in for you.
Driving record – Past moving violations and citations should also be evaluated in context. Be sure to look at the type of citation and give a heavier weighting to more serious violations. Citations that may be considered more serious include:
- Operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol or narcotics (DUI or DWI)
- Refusal to submit to substance testing
- Felony traffic violations
- Driving with a suspended, revoked, or invalid license
- Reckless driving or negligent driving
- Drag racing
- Hit and run, leaving the scene of an accident
- Eluding a law enforcement officer
Accident history – A driving record with no accidents is even more impressive if it was accomplished over a longer time period while driving similar equipment and under similar conditions for the driving position you are trying to fill . The required safe vehicle stopping times and distances are significantly different between a passenger vehicle and a commercial vehicle requiring a CDL. The maneuverability and obstructed views are also more challenging with a larger vehicle. Also, look at the driver action that contributed to the accident and don’t overlook the significance of past incidents that resulted in minor repair costs. Give a heavier weighting for accidents that had the potential for a more serious outcome. For example, an accident involving improper lane change, failure to yield, or running a red light may easily have resulted in a much more serious outcome under slightly different circumstances.
In conclusion - Using driver quality hiring standards is not a new concept. However, making sure the data is analyzed in the proper context can improve the probability of making a successful hiring decision. When evaluating candidates for a driving position, make sure you are comparing apples to apples. Be sure to consider if the candidate’s driving history has been achieved while driving under relevant conditions, for an adequate time period, and at a higher level of performance.
Submitted: Joe Gehrts, Senior Loss Control Consultant
Wednesday, May 20, 2020
- Reduce frustration for citizens who were unaware of restrictions.
- Reduce time and resources spent removing unauthorized materials.
- Reduce confrontations between city employees and the residents.
- Provide a more enjoyable/hassle-free experience for the workers and visitors.
Visitors to the site should:
- Practice social distancing and stay at least six feet away from others at compost sites.
- Plan for extra time as social distancing measures may restrict the number of people who can safely unload at one time and may create delays during peak hours.
- Stay in vehicles until they reach the unloading site and it is their turn to unload.
- Stay in designated areas and avoid the six-foot restricted areas painted on pavement at dump area (if applicable and more than one party is allowed to unload at a time).
- What identification is required to use compost site.
- Your operating hours and seasonal fluctuations to hours.
- Whether commercial use is allowed or not.
How items are sorted.
- What is accepted.
- What is prohibited.
- What fees
will be charged broken down by material and quantity.
For example, some cities may have the following policy on accepted and prohibited items:
Spring and fall lawn rakings and thatch
Grass clippings, lumber, sod, and soil
Soft, vegetative garden waste
Retaining wall blocks, lumber, rocks, and dirt
- Paper leaf bags need to be hauled away by visitor.
- No plastic bags may be left on site.
- No yard waste may be left outside facility.
- No chain saws or wood splitters may be used on site.
- During early spring and late fall, the amount of available daylight is decreased, especially when daylight saving time ends in early November. The site closes earlier during those seasons for the safety of residents who may be backing up vehicles and trailers in the dark.
- Dirt, rocks, and lumber can cause damage to equipment.
- Compost site size limitations does not allow for the accommodation of grass clippings.
Provide solutions when possible for alternative disposal options for restricted materials. Suggestions may include:
- Contract your waste hauler to see if Christmas trees can be collected at curbside.
- Contact forestry staff at (###) ###-#### about diseased tree disposal.
- Grass clippings can be disposed of at ….
- Site names
- Phone numbers
- Map graphics
- Install a gated entrance to compost site.
- Fence in the compost site.
- Only open during staffed hours.
- Operate security cameras at the compost site.
Submitted by: Joe Gehrts, Senior Loss Control Consultant
Monday, May 18, 2020
Regardless of whether the equipment is sanitized or not, a sign posted onsite where it can be easily seen by visitors is appropriate. The sign should simply state:
|Photo Credit: Sarah Soucie Eyberg|
You may also want to consider translation of these simple messages into any languages that may better serve your community.
Friday, May 15, 2020
Commonly asked questions about cloth masks, respirators, and OSHA
- Respirators: A respirator is a device that protects employees from inhaling particles or other dangerous substances. Typically, these are fitted closely to the wearer’s face and do not allow air to flow between the sides of the mask and the user’s nose and mouth. Facial hair is not permitted when respirators are required because it prevents a tight seal from occurring. With these types of masks, any air movement is required to pass through the filters. When respirators are mandatory, then all of the OSHA Respiratory Standard requirements must be followed. Granted, OSHA has made some temporary exceptions to fit testing and extended use, but these are also just temporary.
- Personal Protective Equipment (PPE): Loose-fitting masks which are not intended to filter air are PPE. A surgical mask or the masks that individuals are making at home in response to COVID-19 are not considered respirators because they do not filter the air. These loose-fitting masks, however, are still subject to the OSHA PPE Standard, which requires proper protection if necessary to prevent a job related injury or impairment.
Q2. Is there a difference if an employer requires employees to wear a loose-fitting face mask or merely permits employees to wear a loose-fitting face mask?
Thursday, April 30, 2020
- Equipment kept in dry storage over the winter are operational and well maintained.
- Fresh fuel is provided in mobile and portable equipment.
- Fuel tanks for generators are topped off (take advantage of the record low fuel prices).
- Chainsaw and pole saw blades have been sharpened, and spare blades available.
- Providing public service announcements regarding municipal weather alerts
- Testing alert systems on the first Wednesday of each month
- Verifying the reliability of emergency alert equipment. Check that:
- Branches are not obstructing sirens.
- Sirens were not damaged over the winter.
- Generators and battery backups for alert systems are operational.
- Verify if mutual aid agreements will still be honored during the pandemic.
- Identify and provide alternates for key personnel who may not be available during the emergency response event due to illness.
- Accommodate for the change in availability of volunteers which may be needed for sandbagging and other activities:
- Determine how to accomplish social distancing with employees and volunteers for various response activities.
- Identify potential areas of congregation during response.
- Seek alternative methods such as using mechanical means where possible.
- Have emergency inventory of face masks and gloves in stock for volunteers and employees.
- Provide portable hand wash stations with soap or sanitizer dispensers at emergency sites.
Submitted by: Joe Gehrts, Senior Loss Control Consultant