IC Safety from Protective Insurance Company
May 2016 An exclusive publication for Protective's independent contractors
How to observe drivers and coach safe behaviors
When you consider the causes of collisions, you may think the majority are hazards or conditions outside your control. However, according to the National Safety Council, the majority of collisions are a result of human behavior, not physical hazards.
Therefore, to ensure your business operates safely, you must modify behavior by observing people as they work and talking with them about their actions as they occur. This involves much more than just providing ongoing training. It’s about developing good habits and putting safety above all.
Supervisor coaching driver next to truck
Effective observations are not the same as "ride-alongs." The most successful behavior modification programs are unannounced and unfiltered, not when you are in the passenger seat or directly next to the worker. Begin by observing your drivers and helpers, and use a form to take notes while they are:
• at the station or terminal while loading or unloading
• performing pre-trip, in-route and post-trip inspections
• adjusting mirrors and backing up
• operating the vehicle on the road and performing tasks during stops
Focus your observations on the root causes of your most common and costly collisions, and provide feedback in the form of coaching. The primary goal is to help the driver understand their at-risk behaviors and develop corrective actions, not to find fault. To help guide you through this process and provide documentation, use our free behavior observation form.
Remember, actions influence performance. Feedback must be immediate, unbiased and constructive, with the understanding that you are truly interested in the driver's/worker's safety and well-being.
To build a well-rounded and strong safety culture, it’s also important to have the following programs in place:
• a formal written safety policy that clearly outlines expectations
• a progressive disciplinary program that includes documented verbal and written warnings
• a safety incentive program to reward and encourage collision- and risk-free performance
For assistance with these and other safety programs, contact our Loss Prevention & Safety Services Department at lossprevention@protectiveinsurance.com or (800) 644-5501 x7341.
Free Download: Behavior Observation Form
Download our free behavior observation form to assist you in observing and coaching your drivers/workers. Download observation form >>


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