The Key To Training Drivers

It's a fact: Drivers log large sums of mileage per year. As the miles increase, so does the risk of having an accident. Following are ways to help drivers reduce accidents and go beyond the call of duty:

* Increase requirements for driver training. Drivers are required to receive 24 hours of OSHA training. Go beyond that and require 40 hours of training from your drivers. With 40 hours of training, drivers can assist at a contaminated site.

* Expand equipment operations training. Fort Transfer's drivers are trained to operate and drive all types of equipment including semi-dump trailers, tank trailers and vacuum trucks.

* Maintain a continuous training program. Ongoing training is equally important, according to Fort Transfer Safety Manager Steve Mays. For example, drivers can receive three eight-hour refresher courses each year to cover OSHA and DOT issues.

* Train all employees. Everyone from the front-line supervisors and scale operators to mechanics and drivers must receive proper training. "It only makes sense to ensure that the maintenance personnel of the vehicles are as well-informed as the staff who sits behind the wheel," said Keith Shay, chief executive officer of Fort Transfer. "It is very unforgiving if you make a mistake in this industry."

* Continue contamination training. In addition to training drivers for a minimum level of contamination contact (Level C personal protection equipment), train dri-vers to participate in operations that require Level A and Level B personal protection. After training, they can respond in an emergency situation by wearing encapsulated suits and self-contained breathing apparatuses (SCBAs).

* Conduct drug tests regularly. Apply random, periodic drug testing to all employees, from the CEO to the janitors.

Other training programs offered by Fort Transfer include: HM 126F refresher and defensive driving training; a hazard communication program; a confined space program; a lockout/tagout program; a hoist/sling/chain program; forklift training; bloodborne pathogen training; a respirator program; fire extinguisher training; emergency action plan; emergency response program; and a substance abuse program.