Working on the side of the road as a tow truck operator can be dangerous and, at times, frightening. Many of the risks you and your drivers face aren’t under your direct control – for example, you can’t stop someone else from texting behind the wheel, and you can’t make it stop raining. But you can do your best to create a culture of safety at your business in an effort to keep your drivers out of harm’s way.
What’s a culture of safety, you may ask?
It means that safety is a fundamental part of what your business is. Safety is so deeply ingrained in your tow truck business that it influences how your employees act and go about their jobs.
So, how can you create a culture of safety?
Let’s take a look at these seven tips for creating a culture of safety.
1. Commit to training.
Hiring new drivers means spending a good deal of time on training. Your training program is an opportunity for you to both teach new recruits how to do their job safely and introduce them to the inherent risks of towing (and show them how to minimize those risks.) By spending lots of time training, you give you new drivers the tools they need to do their job in as safe a manner possible.
But it’s not just your new drivers who should be getting trained. Even your experienced tow truck drivers could use a refresher. This allows safety to stay at the front of everyone’s minds.
2. Hold safety meetings to clearly communicate with your employees.
Even if you have safety protocols and workplace safety policies for your tow truck business, it’s hard to get people to follow them unless you clearly communicate them to your drivers. All of your drivers need to understand the risks they’ll face on the road and the best strategies to reduce those dangers.
To communicate your safety expectations and protocols, you can hold regular meetings. This gives everyone the chance to understand how those safety strategies work in a real-life situation. Your drivers can swap stories and strategies they’ve found to be useful, and they can also share any observations they’ve made about safety during the week. You can tackle different topics to better prepare your drivers. These meetings also allow your drivers to ask questions and collaborate on the answers.
It’s important to point out that your drivers have the power to control the risk factors that they can. While they can’t eliminate risk entirely – that’s just the nature of the job – they can manage their risks by controlling their own actions and doing things the safe way.
3. Have one-on-one meetings with your drivers.
It’s also a good idea to have regular one-on-one appointments with each of your drivers. That way you can give them the opportunity to tell you about their safety concerns and suggestions. And by touching base with them, you show that you truly value your people and appreciate the work they do.
4. Create an employee handbook.
By having an employee handbook, you get all of your safety expectations and procedures in writing so that everything is clear and easily accessible. You should get some legal advice when you write your handbook – there are many laws that you as an employer have to follow when it comes to your employees.
5. Empower your employees to speak up about safety concerns.
Encourage your employees to speak up about their safety-related concerns (and any other concerns they have.) They should feel like they can go to you to voice any observations or explain any hazards they encounter. Safety is a team effort, and no one should fear that they’ll get in trouble or even be punished for raising a concern.
6. Investigate accidents with the purpose of preventing another.
You’ve got to investigate an accident if one happens to promote a culture of safety. Be sure to clarify that you’re not investigating to figure out who to blame or how much to blame them. The reason for the investigating is to find out what you can do to prevent a similar accident in the future and improve safety in your towing business. That’s what should fuel your investigation.
7. Make sure management is setting an example.
Your leadership team needs to encourage safety and set a positive example for your team. Management has got to lead the way and set the tone for the business when it comes to creating a culture of safety. Employees tend to follow the lead of management.
Creating a culture of safety in your business can help you make safety a fundamental part of what your business is. It can help you send your drivers home to their families at the end of the day. Though towing can be dangerous, you can help your drivers manage the risks they face.
Want to save money on your tow truck insurance? We would be happy to help with that. To get in touch with our team of tow truck insurance experts, all you have to do is fill out our online quote form or give us a call today. We’re here to help with any of your insurance needs, and we understand the risks you face and the coverages you need to protect your business.
Jackson, Tim. “A Culture of Safety.” Tow Times, June 2018, p. 6.