In the May issue, the changes to the Experience Modification Factor (E-MOD) and how it affects your company’s workers’ compensation policy were discussed. In that article, the NCCI changes to the E-MOD were outlined. Understanding those crucial changes is the first point in our 10 pointers to operate your company efficiently, safely, legally, and profitably.
1. E-MOD: Look back on the E-MOD discussion to ensure you understand how the changes will affect your company’s bottom line (May issue, Management Solutions section).
2. BASIC categories: The seven behavior analysis and safety improvement categories (BASIC) are developed and used by FMCSA to rate your company, and to identify and correct safety compliance issues. They are as follows: unsafe driving; hours of service (HOS) compliance; driver fitness; controlled substances; vehicle maintenance; hazardous materials compliance; and, crash indicator.
- Unsafe driving refers to the operation of commercial motor vehicles (CMV) by drivers in a dangerous or careless manner, including: speeding, reckless driving, improper lane changes, and inattention.
- Hours of Service compliance includes violations of the regulations pertaining to records of duty status, as they relate to the HOS requirements and the management of CMV driver fatigue.
- Driver fitness refers to the operation of CMVs by drivers who are unfit to operate a CMV either due to a lack of training, experience, or medical qualifications.
- Controlled substance deals with the operation of CMVs by drivers who are impaired due to alcohol, illegal drugs, or the misuse of prescriptions and/or over-the-counter medications.
- Vehicle maintenance deals with the proper maintenance of a CMV, as well as the prevention of shifting loads, spilled or dropped cargo, and overloading. This is a key issue and motor carriers must educate their drivers about how to properly conduct pre- and post-trip inspections, record vehicle defects, properly secure loads, and know which defects will hinder safe operation of the vehicle.
- Hazardous material compliance includes violations for failure to mark or label in accordance with regulations, not properly securing hazardous materials packages, as well as violations regarding cargo tank specification testing, attendance, and leakage.
- Lastly, the Crash Indicator is a BASIC that can only be seen by enforcement personnel or by a motor carrier logged into its own safety profile. It deals with the history or pattern of high-crash involvement and is based on information from state-reported crashes.
3. Know how points are assessed: Knowing how points are assessed, and which areas carry higher violations, can help your company to focus on where safety should be specifically stressed. To give you an idea of what you have to know, here are the numbers regarding points for certain violations: Unsafe Driving = 36 different types of violation, of which 15 will get you 5 points each; Fatigued Driving = 28 different types of violation, of which 17 will get you 7 points each; Controlled Substance = 3 different types of violation, of which 2 of them will cost you 10 points each; Vehicle Maintenance = 220 different types of violation, of which 56 are 4 points each, 49 are 3 points each, and 46 are 2 points each.
4. Keep copies of all CSA inspection reports: Every inspection, whether good or bad, affects your score. In order to ensure a good CSA score, impeccable record keeping is essential, and you should keep copies of all your inspection reports. Know where your company stands—go to www.csa.fmcsa.dot.gov and view your company and drivers’ current safety assessments and behavior analysis. Verify the information listed is accurate and clear up any errors as soon as possible. You are required by the FMCSR to keep these documents, and you should know that safety investigators may use them to assess the nature and severity of a motor carrier’s safety problems.
5. Understand the inspection selection system (ISS) and the algorithm and points system: ISS is the system by which every motor carrier is given a 1-100 score that recommends how inspectors should prioritize commercial vehicles for inspection. According to FMCSA, the ISS is the primary tool used on the roadside to screen motor carrier vehicles and determine the usefulness of conducting an inspection. The higher your carrier’s ISS score, the more likely your trucks will be inspected.
6. Use the pre-employment screening program (PSP): Congress mandated the PSP in an effort to make driver safety information available electronically for pre-employment screening. Although related, it is not part of CSA. Every commercial driver has a safety data record in PSP that includes 5 years of crash data, and 3 years of roadside inspection records. This information is then broken down into the BASIC categories, and each category contains the applicable percentile for that category.
7. Make driver health a priority: Sleep apnea continues to be a problem in drivers and correlates directly with weight loss. Encouraging drivers to workout, and advocating for workout facilities in truck stops to give drivers a mental and physical break, would greatly improve driver health. Additionally, supervisors need to evaluate the driver at every conversation to look for signs of fatigue. When the driver reports hours of service, the supervisor needs to see if that is possible based on the last load. Lastly, create a confidential and comfortable environment for drivers to discuss, and get help, for any addiction problems.
8. Create a safety training program: This doesn’t mean posting a sign, or having a motto that states safety is important. It is communicated to the corporation and outsiders by the way the company is managed, the behavior and attitude of company officials, and the actions management takes when a safety violation occurs. Implement specific, competent countermeasures to address your safety deficiencies.
9. Driver recognition reward program: Safety is a profit center, not a cost center. Encouraging safety by having a recognition reward program helps everyone to see safety as a positive, not a burden. To give the driver an incentive to do the best job possible, safety standards should be supplemented by an award program designed to recognize good performance. Awards can range from a monetary prize ($250 the first year, $500 the second, with a maximum credit of $750 for each year thereafter), to gift certificates, plaques, company newsletter announcements, appreciation gear (company shirt, jacket, travel mug, etc.).
10. Update all company agreements: Lastly, it is important to be aware of the fact that even though you may only think you are in one line of business, many of the jobs you perform can cross over into similar industries. As such, it is important to have contracts available to use for a multitude of job situations that may present themselves. Make a habit of doing an annual review of each contract your company utilizes to ensure it remains up-to-date and there have not been any recent laws that would void part, or all, of your contracts. ■
About The Author:
Robert C. Moore is chief legal officer with NBIS. For further reading on these 10 Essential Points, visit www.nbis.com, Latest News Section, to review the detailed presentation Mr. Moore gave to the SC&RA Specialized Transportation Symposium attendees in February 2013.
Modern Contractor Solutions, August 2013
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