Safety leadership crucial for trucking operators

By: Rob McKay

Trucking companies that permit driver input on workplace procedures have lower insurance claims.

Safety leadership crucial for trucking operators
Companies that allow input from their drivers and document fatigue management have lower insurance claims.


All the safety equipment training and policies available may fail to be effective without a positive management approach, the latest freight transport safety research indicates.

Initial findings presented at the Australian Logistics Council's Supply Chain Safety and Compliance Summit by University of NSW senior research fellow Lori Mooren point to active and responsive management, risk assessments, enforcement of rules and driver involvement as likely to be central to success in building a company safety culture. 

The investigation has completed a three-stage process of reviewing existing research, surveying 50 firms and doing an in depth investigation of 15 companies.

A safety management approach has been formulated, and the call is now out for volunteer firms to help test it. 

Research to date is based on insurance claims centered on Zurich insurance customers.

Mooren admits that many outcomes were surprising. 

For instance, higher-claiming operators were three times more likely to have fleet management  and work monitoring,  twice as likely to have driver training, and four times as likely to have fatigue management policies than low-claiming operators, while the latter were more likely to require subcontractors to sign off on their safety codes of conduct.

Likewise,  higher claimers were four times more likely to have National Heavy Vehicle Accreditation Scheme (NHVAS) mass management accreditation, twice as likely to have NHVAS basic fatigue management, and three times more likely to have key performance indicators for safety management. 

They were also over-represented on using driver training courses.

However,  lower claimers gave 1.75 times more opportunity for driver input on occupational health and safety, and three times more likely to set and monitor time limits for response to drivers' safety concerns. 

As opposed to reliance on in-vehicle monitoring, lower claimers were more likely to send new drivers with experienced drivers, document fatigue management, and conduct pre-start checks.

They tend to have more formal approaches to policy breaches and offer monetary incentives for safety innovations.

Volunteer firms can contact Mooren on 0412 888 290 or

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