National Academies Press: OpenBook

Role of Human Factors in Preventing Cargo Tank Truck Rollovers (2012)

Chapter: Chapter 4 - Good Practices of the Cargo Tank Truck Industry

« Previous: Chapter 3 - Driver Cultural and Lifestyle Practices
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 4 - Good Practices of the Cargo Tank Truck Industry." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2012. Role of Human Factors in Preventing Cargo Tank Truck Rollovers. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/22741.
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Page 18
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 4 - Good Practices of the Cargo Tank Truck Industry." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2012. Role of Human Factors in Preventing Cargo Tank Truck Rollovers. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/22741.
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Page 19
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 4 - Good Practices of the Cargo Tank Truck Industry." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2012. Role of Human Factors in Preventing Cargo Tank Truck Rollovers. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/22741.
×
Page 20
Page 21
Suggested Citation:"Chapter 4 - Good Practices of the Cargo Tank Truck Industry." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2012. Role of Human Factors in Preventing Cargo Tank Truck Rollovers. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/22741.
×
Page 21

Below is the uncorrected machine-read text of this chapter, intended to provide our own search engines and external engines with highly rich, chapter-representative searchable text of each book. Because it is UNCORRECTED material, please consider the following text as a useful but insufficient proxy for the authoritative book pages.

18 This chapter looks primarily within the North American trucking industry for good safety practices. The next chapter will look internationally and outside the trucking industry for practices that can be adapted to the prevention of cargo tank truck rollovers. The bulk of this chapter comes from the interviews that were conducted specifically for cargo tank truck rollovers as part of this project. The objective was to identify the best safety, management, and communication practices that can be used to minimize or eliminate driver errors in the cargo tank truck industry. 4.1 Results of the Interviews More than 40 telephone interviews were conducted. The largest single group of individuals had a safety oversight position at a tank truck carrier. Federal agencies and trade associations were contacted for their perspectives. Table 9 shows the distribution of respondents’ affiliations. Some carriers operate multi-nationally and provided both a domes- tic and international perspective. Interviews with operations completely outside North America or outside the trucking industry are reported in Chapter 5. A small number of com- ments from overseas fit better in Task 3; they are identified where they appear. The interview guide is in Appendix C (published online). The questions are categorized according to corporate culture, hiring practices, training, operations, and assessing fitness for duty. Respondents were given a list of 13 components of a corporate safety culture and were asked to rate them as “very important,” “important,” “somewhat important,” or “not important.” Responses were tabulated by assigning “very important” a value of 4, “important” a value of 3, and so forth, and then averaging the scores for each component. The results have little variation with all but one component rated above “important,” as shown in Table 10. The lines in the table show there are some break points in the results, but it is difficult to draw any conclusion other than that monetary rewards are considered less important, which is consistent with remarks made in response to other questions. 4.1.1 Opportunities for Improvement One of the first questions put to carrier safety managers was an open-ended request for which safety management areas could best be improved. A variety of answers was received. The most common response from carriers was the recommendation to monitor the behaviors of drivers. One purpose of monitoring is to identify which individuals need training and in what areas. Two carriers said that hiring practices could be improved. Other answers were more face time with drivers, better fatigue management, drug testing, and post-incident learning. One safety manager noted that the larger carriers share common values; the problem is those who are cutting corners. The same open-ended question was put to associations and to government agencies. Training and communication were recurring themes. Ongoing supervision of drivers and con- tinuing education were mentioned in some form or another by several respondents. Carriers cannot stop at hiring and initial training policies—they need to continue to actively monitor driver behavior. One observed that waiting until after a crash is not frequent enough to check driver skills. Ongoing training and continuous improvement are impor- tant as changes always occur in the industry, and drivers may develop bad habits over time. This becomes more important as more and more responsibilities are put on the driver, such as loading and unloading. Besides training the drivers for all these duties, the industry as a whole and schedulers in particular need to ensure that the driver can accomplish all that needs to be done without cutting any corners. The representative of one association volunteered that the DOT rollover training video (FMCSA 2010) was effective. One carriers’ association noted the need to attract good, young drivers from other sectors to address the aging work- C h a p t e r 4 Good Practices of the Cargo Tank Truck Industry

19 force. Though no individual carrier identified this need in answer to the first question, at least two mentioned the age of their driver workforce elsewhere in the interview. One carrier in particular said its driver turnover rate is well below average but the rate will go up as many of its drivers reach retirement age. 4.1.2 Operations When asked how a balance is struck between safety and efficiency, two answers were common. One answer was that safety is first, period. The other was that efficiency is not possible without safety because equipment and personnel have to be available to work. If you can be safe, efficiency comes along. Electronically monitoring drivers’ behavior is quite com- mon, although not universal. Some monitors are as simple as maximum speed; others are tied into roll stability systems; many are dedicated systems that record a number of param- eters including speeding, hard braking, and cornering. Policies differ on how the results are handled. One only spot checks the data; many post the results with or without identification; some have formulas to rate behavior and identify needs for coaching. Some carriers observe their drivers, either by riding along in the cab or by unannounced observation in a separate vehicle. Those who watch their drivers driving or unloading tell their drivers that the program exists but not when they will be followed. If drivers suspect the company is secretly spying on them, trust will be broken. In response to the ques- tion of how the company ensures that drivers understand the training, a few said they test the drivers. The much more common answer was that they observe the drivers, often by having a trainer or senior driver riding along. Carrier safety managers were asked what fraction of their policies was more proactive as opposed to reactive. Most commonly, carriers reported a majority of 60% to 80% pro- active policies. One manager remarked that being proactive is the point of having policies. Most carriers maintain a balance of rewarding good behavior and punishing bad behavior. Reward programs range from simple to elaborate. A few do not have a rewards program—they compensate their employees well and do not feel they need recognition for doing their job. Time in safety meetings is critical. Aside from the driving skills, tank truck carriers must often cover loading and unload- ing procedures and hazmat practices, including placarding. At least two carriers have team awards for safety. That conveys the message that everybody at the terminal is working toward a common goal and encourages positive peer pressure. One carrier records all calls between a dispatcher and drivers. That discourages attempting to deliver loads that might not fit a reasonable schedule. 4.1.3 Fitness for Duty Fitness for duty is covered extensively in Section 6.3. Only a few salient points are mentioned here. The daily assessment of a driver’s readiness to carry out the duties of the job varies from nothing at all to elaborate methods. If a driver begins a shift in the middle of the night at a terminal alone, often no Table 9. Distribution of respondents to the surveys. Component Average Rating Communication from Company Leadership 3.95 Training 3.94 Safety Policies 3.89 Hiring Practices 3.89 Safety Equipment 3.78 Performance Monitoring 3.67 Safety Meetings and Education 3.65 Discipline for Unsafe Behaviors 3.61 Safety Monitoring and Measurement Systems 3.47 Employee Compensation 3.16 Non-Monetary Reward and Recognition 3.11 Safety Incentives 3.06 Monetary Rewards 2.69 Note: 4 = very important, 3 = important, 2 = somewhat important, 1 = not important. Table 10. Respondents’ ratings of the importance of components of the safety culture. Primary Job Title Federal Agency 4 Industry Association Industry other than Cargo Tank Truck Operator 8 Safety Management 3 Fleet Operations 5 Compliance Manager 1 Corporate Executive 5 Owner-Operator 4 International 5 Sector of the Trucking Industry For-hire 14 Private Fleet 10 Primary Type of Business Truckload 5 Less-than-Truckload 1 Bulk Tanker 21 Hazmat 2 Specialized 6 Other 1 Power Units Your Fleet Operates Less than 50 4 50 – 249 7 1 1 1 2 2 250 – 999 5 1,000 – 4,999 4 5,000+ 2

20 one else is present. More than one respondent lamented the lack of personal interaction that accompanies the improve- ment in operational efficiency afforded by modern electronics. A limited number of carriers use electronics for fitness for duty. One in-cab system has the driver answer a safety-related question when logging in. Another system has the driver per- form an electronic eye-hand coordination test several times to establish a personal baseline, and then the test is repeated at the beginning of every shift to compare against the baseline. Carriers permit drivers to take a day off when they are sick, but sick pay is uncommon. During a face-to-face meeting of the driver and dispatcher or supervisor, the two can discuss weather, assigned loads, journey plans, and unique risks of the day. During this time the supervisor is observing whether the driver is well and ready. Personal time between the driver and others is more common and more likely to be lengthy in some cultures outside the United States. 4.1.4 Hiring and Initial Training Minimum driving experience requirements vary, although none of the carriers consider tank truck driving an entry-level position and more specialized carriers typically require prior tanker experience. Nearly all the larger carriers review appli- cations in a central location to ensure uniform application of their high standards. An owner of a small operation said that one of the advantages of being small is that he can hire people he already knows. Carriers have gotten creative in finding new ways to screen applicants. Taking referrals from current employees is not new, but checking Facebook for risky hobbies is. A hair test is becoming more common than a fluid test for drugs. Carriers are checking the personal driving record, not just the profes- sional record. Most carriers reported using multi-day hiring programs for each new driver, and two required prospective hires to complete a battery of tests demonstrating competence prior to extending a job offer. Carriers were asked if there are any “deal killers” in an applicant’s background. Many answered DUI, and a few mentioned aggressive or reckless driving, a history of speeding, or felonies. Some, but not all, said they would consider mitigat- ing circumstances if time has elapsed since a DUI conviction. The two most lenient carriers permitted DUI convictions if they were more than 3 or 5 years before. One carrier said that his company will not hire a driver whose value system shows aggressive tendencies or an undisciplined lifestyle. Carriers commonly have a trainer ride with a new driver before the driver is allowed to drive solo. These periods ranged from 3 to 6 weeks. One carrier had a 1-week minimum. Some carriers require drivers to pass a post-training test before allowing them to operate the company’s trucks. A driver said that training should be more than simply telling drivers not to have a rollover: it should tell them how to avoid rollovers. Another driver went a step further saying that his training had been focused on not getting into situations that can lead to a rollover. But the driver wished there had been training on what to do if a bad situation suddenly develops. Both drivers and managers observed that the proper action in some circumstances is not to follow intuition or reflexes, so corrective actions must be trained and planned before the need for a split-second decision arises. A driver who is new to the company, or new to the industry, would benefit from a realistic discussion of the lifestyle that accompanies the profession. Some carriers ask a recently hired driver to have a heart-to-heart talk with a candidate about the realities of the schedule. Some carriers administer a psycho- logical test for fitness to the job. This is also the opportunity to coach new drivers on the need to have proper rest during their off time and not to try to hold a second job or to provide day care. Much of this is second nature to experienced drivers, so compiling a list of talking points is straightforward; the advantages of formally communicating the information to the candidate are great. More than once the suggestion was raised in interviews that drivers be shown photographs or movies of frightening crashes so they appreciate how dangerous the job can be. There is general agreement among drivers and safety managers on the need for standards in training. Drivers related stories of inadequate preparation, and managers lament the lack of a means of rating driving schools. Further informa- tion is in CTBSSP Synthesis 4: Individual Differences and the “High-Risk” Commercial Driver (Knipling et al., 2004). 4.2 Noteworthy Emerging Practices A number of emerging practices were distilled from the interviews. They are already in place at a few early adopters or were suggested by remarks during the interviews. The most prominent emerging practices were selected for the Case Studies in Chapter 6. Others are listed here. Families play an important role in ensuring the driver returns home safely. For example, the family should not contact a driver 100 miles away to say that the kitchen faucet is leaking. The driver cannot fix the problem from that distance and would be distracted by the additional mental stress. Some companies provide a referral service at the terminal. Family members at home know they can call the terminal for help with small matters. The driver leaves home assured that the family will be cared for even during a multi-day trip. Large companies tend to have such a program in place. The situation is different when the company owner, terminal manager, and driver are all the same individual.

21 Drivers almost universally (among the interviewees) have stop work authority. Some carriers—in particular, one in hazardous materials transport—give drivers authority not to accept loads that may be misclassified or that create dangerous loading and transport conditions. Drivers beginning a trip on days with possibly inclement weather should be alerted and assured that they will not be penalized for deciding conditions are not suitable for travel. Drivers who exercise their stop work authority are typically required to phone the terminal to report the status, after finding a safe place to stop, if a trip is interrupted. One of the findings from the international interviews was that truck drivers in some economically depressed regions garner little respect. A carrier found that simply providing a kitchen appliance as a safety award to the driver’s family sig- nificantly raised the driver’s esteem within the family and the community. Clean uniforms set them apart and gave them the pride to want to do their job well. Improving the public perception of truck drivers in North America is a more complex undertaking, but the theme has been mentioned. One carrier allows all drivers to take a guest to dinner when a terminal passes a safety milestone, conveying to the family that the driver is doing a valuable job well. Larger carriers have themed family picnics where, in addition to the con- viviality, the need for proper rest during off hours can be reinforced. Posters or lessons on safely driving passenger cars benefit the whole family and remind the drivers of basic safety skills in a non-threatening manner. One consideration would be to reproduce safety demonstrations originated by a high school: students drove a course in a golf cart first without dis- tractions and again while attempting to send a text message. Key trade associations within several industries have established codes of safe management practice that every association member must adhere to as a condition of mem- bership. This may include a requirement to have the member undergo a third-party audit to certify that the observed prac- tices meet the required codes. CTBSSP Synthesis 12: Commer- cial Motor Vehicle Carrier Safety Management Certification (Bergoffen et al., 2007) examines the benefits of adopting a code of practice.

Next: Chapter 5 - Good Practices of Other Industries and Countries »
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 Role of Human Factors in Preventing Cargo Tank Truck Rollovers
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TRB’s Hazardous Materials Cooperative Research Program (HMCRP) Report 7: Role of Human Factors in Preventing Cargo Tank Truck Rollovers analyzes the causes of the major driver factors contributing to cargo tank truck rollovers and offers safety, management, and communication practices that can be used to help potentially minimize or eliminate driver errors in cargo tank truck operations.

The report focuses on three areas of practice--rollover-specific driver training and safety programs, the use of behavior management techniques, and the use of fitness-for-duty management practices--that could have long-lasting benefits for motor carriers of all sizes across the tank truck industry.

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