Accidents are one of the many banes of haulage work. Damaged goods, insurance claims, shredded schedules, angry clients, broken lorries and maybe even a lost life are the resulting headaches of accidents when you are a haulier. You can, however, greatly reduce the risk of accidents with these simple but effective steps.
Make sure all drivers are qualified
Driver Certificates of Competence (CPCs) will let you know that the driver has taken courses that allow him or her to safely haul cargo and that they know how to react in certain situations. These same certificates will also tell you if the driver is physically and mentally fit for the job. After all, handling heavy cargo over hundreds and hundreds of miles can be quite demanding on the mind and body.
Invest in devices that improve driver vision
The ability of drivers to see what is in front, around and behind them is paramount to driver safety. Elevated seats with far-reaching side mirrors work with most lorries, but larger ones make it virtually impossible for most drivers to see as far as they need to. Proximity sensors and CCTV cameras may sound like overkill for a haulage firm but they could mean the difference between an uneventful trip and being rear-ended by a small car.
Schedule daily checks and regular inspections
Haulage work can be very stressful on the lorries, which explains why both general checks and more thorough inspections are needed. Daily checks need to be conducted by the drivers themselves, once their shift starts in order to ascertain the state of the tyres, lights and other indicators. Regular inspections covering everything from pipes and hoses to brakes and steering should be scheduled at least once a month or when the vehicles reach the mileage indicated in their manual.
Prepare accordingly for dangerous goods
The nature of haulage work can often involve transporting dangerous goods like gases, explosives, flammables, and radioactive materials and this requires specialised equipment and training in accordance with the tougher safety measures. Road haulage of these goods needs special documentation from the European Agreement concerning the International Carriage of Dangerous Goods (ADR). This basically means that a Dangerous Goods Safety Advisor has checked that all materials have been correctly packaged, labelled and secured for transport.
Factor hazards into your routes
There are some locations that are breeding sites for road accidents. Bends, junctions, overhead cables, narrow roads and unfenced bridges are just a handful of hazards that haulage services need to be aware of. This is why it is important that you spend some time driving your routes to check for possible road hazards and to find alternative routes with fewer hazards. Your lorries may need more time to get to their destinations but at least you help them reduce the risk of possible mishaps.
And the most important thing is to make sure that you take good care of your drivers. They will be doing most of the haulage work for you, so it pays to have a crew that is well rested and in high spirits. A driver that is happy will be more careful of the responsibilities that he or she is bearing compared to one who is overworked, underpaid and feels used instead of appreciated.