What Backing Up Has To Do with Our Safety Culture

IMG_1562 A company’s culture can show itself in unique ways. At some companies, you’ll see it in how people talk, or dress, or start a meeting. If you ever visit one of our several locations at the end of the work day, especially at our headquarters in Sunnyvale, CA, the first place you’ll get a glimpse of the culture is out in our yard…escorted, of course! The yard is confined area that, at certain times of the day, bustles with activity. During these times, there may be multiple trucks in operation at once. In this environment, it is critical that everyone remain aware of their surroundings and exercise the utmost caution at all times. As an example, at ACT, we believe that backing accidents are 100% avoidable and, therefore, 100% preventable. In 2013, we at ACT came to the realization that backing safely was not inherently a part of our safety culture. When we noticed that drivers believed they were experienced enough to back without having to get out and look (GOAL!), we knew we had to change this culture. No matter what a driver’s experience level, the only way to prevent backing incidents such as scraping a mirror, a trailer or another truck was to get out and look. Because we all like to share our success stores, below are a few strategies we implemented:
  • Turn off your radio and open your window
  • Stop distracting activities (no eating, drinking, talking on the phone, which are already against company policy for all ACT drivers – even using hands free devices)
  • Use a spotter at all ACT yard locations and, whenever possible, at client sites; if you lose sight of a spotter, you must stop the vehicle
  • Get Out And Look (GOAL) to ensure your path is clear…even if you think you are a veteran!
  • Position the truck to back straight if possible; back from the driver’s side for best visibility if angling
  • Take it slow and easy
  • Use both mirrors
  • If conditions change while backing, GOAL
It doesn’t matter if you have backed up more miles than going forward, IT ONLY TAKES ONE TIME! A GOOD driver, a PROFESSIONAL driver exudes the culture of backing safely to where it is an extension of who they are and what they do irrespective of the rules or policies ACT has implemented. Strong cultures have a lot in common with successful safety programs. For a safety program to succeed, it has to be lived, has to become a habit – just part of who you are. Every yard at ACT is a reminder of that. Does your company have a distinct culture? Tell us what distinguishes it in the comments below.
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