On the job safety—it’s easy to talk about but can be hard to put it into action day in and day out. Besides improving the health and welfare of its employees, pest control companies have many incentives to make safety a priority, including lower employee turnover, higher team morale, stronger customer confidence and lower insurance rates. The challenge to achieving improved safety is to truly make it part of the company culture.
In 2016, our company launched a multi-faceted safety campaign. In the first two quarters, we saw an approximately 70 percent decrease in at-fault vehicle accidents. Based on our experience, below are tips that may be helpful for other pest control companies aiming to make safety a regular part of the job.
Distracted driving is quickly becoming the primary cause of auto accidents in the service industry. There are various mobile applications on the market that combat distracted driving and greatly improve safety measures. For instance, the app we use disables the phone while the vehicle is traveling over 10 miles per hour. The phone will still receive calls, voicemails and texts, but it will not ring or signal alerts. The phone is also unable to make outgoing calls, other than to 911. The only feature of the phone that will work is the GPS app, and only if it was set before the vehicle starts moving.
Another useful tool we utilize is a vehicle telematics solution. The software facilitates daily reporting that gives visibility to the driving habits of drivers, including hard stops, hard accelerations and idle time. Most importantly, an individual driver scorecard provides both positive and critical feedback for each driver.
Consider how to make safety a family affair. Vehicle visor photo-frames where drivers can place a photo of their families can be a great motivator for getting home safely at the end of the day. Family members can also help support their loved ones by encouraging safe behavior. For example, because calls from family members during work hours can be a common distraction for drivers, consider how you can express this issue to family members. Sending families a letter that shares the company’s plans for making safety a priority and outlining what the family can do to help is a nice way to ask for their support and to show care and concern.
Think about where you can put safety messages so that they stay top of mind throughout the day. Vehicle stickers, keychains and office bulletin boards can share safety messages that help drive the point home for employees every day. Also consider selecting a safety topic every month – which can range from safe driving to ladder safety to proper protection equipment – on which all employees can be tested and documented in the field. This will make safety training a consistent activity.
By David Bradford