Truck driver safety: How to nail training on new policies

 Safety training should be on the front, right and center of all your driver retention strategies

Safety training should be on the front, right and center of all your driver retention strategies

Being a truck driver is one of the most deadliest occupations in the United States. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, transportation and material moving resulted in more fatalities than any other occupation, reaching 1,301 fatalities. Included in this number are the 745 deaths of truck drivers who were killed on the job.

The rate of accidents in the trucking industry has increased alarmingly in the last five years. Rise in reliability on the trucking industry to haul goods due to increased online shopping and other e-commerce activities, has put more truck drivers on road, leading to increased accident rates. Truckers unlike most of the others, do not have a complete control over their work environment, so the factor of ‘accident and deaths’ is bound to take its place, especially when they are not given an adequate safety training.

Providing safety training is also one the most cost effective ways to safeguard your most valuable asset-your truckers. It’s also an approach that’s guaranteed to help your retention efforts.

While having a battle plan to implement safety training is wise, it’s useful if it shows real business outcomes.

Time and again, we’ve seen how interactive training programs deliver consistent impact. An interactive safety training program will lower insurance premiums, lower productivity-loss due to illness or injury, improve employee satisfaction, protect company from liability lawsuits, and make them ready for any incident preventions in the future.

Read on to know more a little more about this mode of training that is guaranteed to deliver the intended outcome - safe drivers + better retention.

Using interactive training for effective outcomes

Interactive training is a way of learning designed to motivate the truckers to participate in the training session. Passive training on the contrast, requires little or no exchange of response. Lectures, reading assignments, audio-visual presentation etc, are techniques of passive training. Let’s face it, your truckers do not have any time to spare on reading or going over the OSHA material, or sitting through a multimedia presentation. They have a lot to haul. But, training becomes more enjoyable for the truckers if you make it interactive. Since you’re reading this, we are guessing your target is to protect your workforce and not just to implement a safety training programme to ensure compliance with the regulations.

Here are some examples of interactive training, and how to execute them:

Case studies

Develop a fictitious story based on a real life scenario of an accident that grabbed media attention earlier this year.

“The trucker witnessed an accident, but he doesn’t have access to network to call for help. What would you do in such a situation?”

When you place them bang in the middle of the situation, their interest is piqued. The wheels start to turn. Next, you can follow this up with a series of questions about the scenario that helps the truckers arrive at appropriate conclusions. This enables the truckers to critically identify, analyse and solve the problems as though they are in a similar situation.  Discussions and participation feedback enhances the quality of this technique.

Tips:

  1. Begin with a clear idea and choose a scenario from a newspaper article, or regulatory agency case that could potentially happen to your truckers too.

  2. Avoid dichotomy questions and frame them in a way that would make the truckers think, analyse and arrive at a conclusion.

Games and Quizzes

It could get difficult to train truckers who already possess an ample amount of knowledge in what they do. Games can turn an extremely boring session into an interesting one, this way the truckers would be actively involved. They would pay more attention because they would want to ‘win’. Quizzes can be conducted at the end of their training program, by posing questions like ‘how would you correct a rear-wheel acceleration skid?’ or ‘how do you report an accident?’ Through conducting quizzes, you can test if the truckers retain the knowledge presented to them.

Tips:

  1. Games are more effective if conduct it at the end of the session.

  2. Provide prizes to those participants who answer correctly. This would enable the others to focus and participate.

Small group discussions

The simplest and the easiest way to transform an instructor-led training or a presentation to an interactive training is by infusing group discussions. Divide your drivers into small groups and engage them in case studies or situations to work on and solve. By doing this, the drivers can pick up a lot of information from the experiences exchanged by the fellow co-workers.

Tips:

  1. For those who have prior knowledge, take advantage of it, ask them questions.

  2. Give the participants a few seconds to think and respond to your questions.

Images

One of the effective ways to start a topic before analysing it, is by using images in combination with the discussion approach. By getting images of Driving Safety, from the Internet or from ATA, the trainees can be made to analyse and think on the situation. Doing this will help the truck drivers visualise the situation.

Tips:

  1. Make sure images are big and clear for everyone to see.

  2. Using a projector or a laptop to show the images delivers better results.

Role Play

Absorbing the roles and acting out certain scenarios that would occur while the truckers are on the road, would make them more aware of their attitude and issues, and they would remember the details of the training than that of the knowledge they gain out of a lecture or reading a booklet.

Tips:

  1. Keep the situations simple such as how not to drive.

  2. Provide clear descriptions of the situation to the actors and encourage them to respond as though they were really in that situation.

Audio Visual Tools

Including tools like DVDs, Videos and Digital Presentations, in a visual and discussion approach, will enable the drivers to see and hear things, or a movie like ‘White Line Fever’ would spice things up. This will also help you cover several points in a short span of time, most importantly in an interactive manner.

Tips:

  1. Avoid letting the audio or the video track do the training. Combining it with other interactive methods like Group discussions and quizzes, will make it more effective.

Hands-On Activities

Hands-on activities help the drivers to be equipped and master their skills. This is designed in such a way that, truckers from different social and cultural background, can participate on equal levels. When the truckers are actually put into practice, they tend to remember the details more. If a driver is involved in an accident, you can virtually create the identical scenario that the driver would encounter, leading up to the accident. The training would be enhanced when drivers can self-critique their performance. They can identify maybe where they made a bad decision, or that their lane change techniques or mirror scan weren't what they should be.This kind of training ensures that the drivers are more active and participatory in the sessions.

Tips:

  1. Practice the techniques that you will teach your driver prior to the programme to ensure you demonstrate the techniques in the right manner.

  2. Stop at the right intervals to ask questions and receive comments.

Training your truckers for safety is as important as training them beyond regulations. They are your most valuable assets. Help them understand to put their safety first. After all, safety does not come with luck, it has to be prepared.

Ensure the safety training sessions are more interactive by blending in these fool-proof tools, carry them out at regular intervals with periodic gaps, make them feel involved, they would feel like they belong to the company.

If the execution seems daunting, don’t let it overwhelm you. Noticeboard has helped over a dozen companies execute this with relative ease. We have over 25000+ frontline employees from across the globe who get trained on a day-to day basis.

Here’s how we do it:

We sit with companies and help develop a comprehensive training program - that can be imparted over mobile phones.

We help companies build quizzes and polls to close the loop on this content.

To ensure completion rates, we do a few things:  we build up anticipation by sharing snippets of interesting case studies as a prelude to a larger training module. We enable role-play, by creating virtual groups and allowing drivers step into a manager’s shoe - so they have a 360 degree perspective of an issue.

Additionally, by conducting follow-ups on completion, rewarding top performers, Noticeboard helps you achieve high outcomes for safety-training sessions that effectively reduces violations in the near future.

Try Noticeboard today