Party Palace Rentals, Forest Hill, Md., has maintained a safe driving record over the years. It’s an achievement we can be proud of, but Safety Manager Jim Shusta knows that this record is achieved only with continued focus.
“We are lucky not to have had any serious accidents. There are, however, safety issues that we struggle with, such as maneuvering a 24ft. box truck in tight spaces. From low rise branches in rural and suburban areas to narrow streets in urban environments, we are aware of the damage that can be done to both our equipment and customer property. We remind our drivers and crew to take extra care when delivering and installing equipment in these areas,” he says.
To mitigate risk, Shusta ensures that all of its drivers are trained and pass an assessment. It also has monthly safety meetings. “We go over safe driving tips, from not driving while impaired by drugs and alcohol to staying focused. We also review tips for extreme weather conditions and make a point of discussing driving safety during the change of seasons. And we discuss the dangers of aggressive driving,” he says.
Other steps include:
A mobile phone policy: “All of our drivers have mobile phones, so we can reach them. To answer or make a call, the driver has to stop,” he says.
A drug and alcohol policy: “We have an independent agency contracted by the company to do testing on a totally random basis, which is good,” Shusta says.
Spotters: “We normally have one or two other crew members who accompany the driver. We make sure that if there is overhanging vegetation in the driveway or in a tight space, a crew member gets off the truck to guide the driver,” he says.
Incident reports: “Any accident is reported and generates a report. We’re reviewing it with everyone, going through the cause and action steps to prevent it from happening again,” Shusta says, adding that “if anything happens to us in regards to a breach, we’ll report it. let’s check with those involved as soon as this happens. .”
Annual driver reviews: “While the DOT [Department of Transportation] does not require us to have CDL [commercial driver’s license] drivers, we are required to have an annual review of our drivers, obtaining their MVRs [motor vehicle records] and make sure they have their medical card. If we have problems, we mitigate them,” says Shusta.
The key is to “keep an eye on your drivers’ performance,” he says. “If they don’t perform up to par, you have to fix it to keep everyone safe.”