Proactive vs. Reactive Safety and Loss Control
Program...Which One Do You Have?
At the end of the year you should be evaluating your safety and
loss control program to determine your performance over the year.
Where do you stand compared to last year and the year before?
Ongoing analysis programs are vital to a proactive and productive
safety and loss control program. It always amazes me that companies
cannot tell me what their accident frequency rate is and how it
compares to years past. Accident frequency should be determined
throughout the year no less than quarterly to determine trends and
be proactive in controlling losses. Accident frequency rates can be
calculated by multiplying the total number of accidents for a
period of time by one million and then dividing by the total number
miles for the same period. Accident frequency rate can be
determined for DOT recordable, preventable recordable,
non-preventable, by region, by fleet, driver supervisor, injury,
etc. However, accident frequency rates are just one piece of the
overall safety analysis program that is in place to provide you
with a sense of direction of where your program is going.
Other areas of your internal analysis program should include,
driver turnover frequency, DOT violation analysis (Hours of
Service, Drug and Alcohol, driver file), Osha violations, workers
compensation injuries, etc. Another analysis tool that you should
review monthly is CSA and SMS provided to you by the FMCSA at www.safersys.org
A sound Proactive safety
and Loss control program will adequately address the following
incentives, Behavior-based safety
driver scheduling and dispatching
safety technologies, Industry-based safety standards and
maintenance and vehicle inspections
Alcohol, Drivers and the Holidays!
Now is a good time to remind your drivers of the
consequences of drinking during the Holiday season and what effect
their actions can have on their CDL or operator's license and
ultimately their employment with your company. Advise your
drivers to use caution when indulging in alcoholic beverages and
have a designated driver to not only protect their license and job
but the motoring public.
The FMCSA regulations are
specific that a CDL driver while operating any type of motor
vehicle is convicted of being under the influence of alcohol as
described by state law will be disqualified from operating a
commercial motor vehicle for one year. A second conviction
would disqualify the driver from operating a commercial motor
vehicle for life.
The effects of alcohol on
behavior (including driving behavior) vary with the individual and
with the concentration of alcohol in the individual's blood. The
level of alcohol achieved in the blood depends in large part
(although not exclusively) upon the amount of alcohol consumed and
the time period over which it was consumed. One rule of thumb says
that in a 150-pound person, each drink adds 0.02% to blood alcohol
concentration and each hour that passes removes 0.01percent from
alcohol is absorbed into the blood relatively quickly and
metabolized more slowly. Therefore, the potential exists for
alcohol concentrations to build steadily throughout a drinking
As a Driver Supervisor you must be aware of the signs
and symptoms of alcohol use:
of Presence of Alcohol: Bottles, cans, and other
containers which alcohol-containing beverages may have been
purchased and/or consumed in; bottle caps from alcohol
containers; bottle or can openers; drivers drinking from paper
bags; odor of alcohol on containers or on driver's breath.
Reduction of reflexes, slurred speech, loss of coordination,
Increased talkativeness reduced emotional control, distorted
judgment, impaired driving ability, gross effects on thinking
Remember if you as the
supervisor of a CDL driver observe changes in behavior and physical
affects of the driver do to what you witness is alcohol use a
reasonable suspicion test is required if the driver is about to
perform, performing or has just performed a safety sensitive
activity such as driving.
The table below shows some
general effects of varying levels of BAC:
0.02 - 0.9%
Loss of muscular coordination, impaired senses,
changes in mood and personality
0.10 - 0.19%
Marked mental impairment, further loss of
coordination, prolonged reaction time
0.20 - 0.29%
Nausea, vomiting, double vision
0.30 - 0.39%
Hypothermia, blackouts, amnesia
0.40 - 0.70%
Coma, respiratory failure, death
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What Alcohol Use is Prohibited?
Alcohol is a legal
substance; therefore, the rules define specific prohibited
alcohol-related conduct. Performance of safety-sensitive functions
having a breath alcohol concentration of 0.04% or greater as
indicated by an alcohol breath test.
4 hours after using alcohol.
In addition, refusing to
submit to an alcohol test or using alcohol within 8 hours after an
accident or until tested (for drivers required to be tested) are
are the Consequences of Alcohol Misuse?
Drivers who engage in prohibited alcohol conduct
must be immediately removed from safety-sensitive functions.
Drivers who have tested .04 or greater during an alcohol test
cannot return to safety-sensitive duties until they have been
evaluated by a substance abuse professional and complied with any
treatment recommendations to assist them with an alcohol problem.
To further safeguard transportation safety, drivers who have any
alcohol concentration (defined as 0.02 or greater and less than
0.04) when tested just before, during or just after performing
safety-sensitive functions must also be removed from performing
such duties for 24 hours. If a driver's behavior or appearance
suggests alcohol misuse, a reasonable suspicion alcohol test must
be conducted. If a breath test cannot be administered, the driver
must be removed from performing safety-sensitive duties for at
least 24 hours.
Safety Bulletin is provided for Idealease affiliates and their
customers and is not to be construed as a complete or exhaustive source
of compliance or safety information. The Idealease Safety Bulletin
is advisory in nature and does not warrant, guarantee, or otherwise
certify compliance with laws, regulations, requirements,
or guidelines of any local, state, or Federal agency and/or
governing body, or industry standards.