Often a company's fleet exposure is their biggest risk. While businesses generally do a great job of screening employees with drug testing, motor vehicle reviews (MVRs), and physicals they often do not put the same care and screening into their fleet.
I often meet with customers who ask "Do I really need a vehicle maintenance program?" or "Isn't changing the oil enough?" Vehicle maintenance is an important role in any fleet safety program. Regular routine maintenance is the key to preventing accidents and losses by identifying problems before they become an issue. Take an example of a large dump truck. If you only change the oil, it is not going to help your driver avoid an accident if the brakes don't work 100%.
Vehicle maintenance logs should be maintained for each individual vehicle. The maintenance logs should not only include the date and type of service received. The logs should also include documented pre and post trip inspections. If management is having difficulty enforcing the inspections consider having the driver turn in inspections sheets in order to receive their weekly paycheck.
Management should also supervise the pre and post trip inspections. Consider hiding a post-it note on a brake pad with a note for the driver to turn it in when found. Then give the driver a reward such as a free lunch or gift card. Positive reinforcement demonstrates management's commitment to safety and also makes the inspection less of a chore for drivers.
Westfield Risk Control staff contribute articles to Smart Business magazine on a regular basis. See the September article related to Vehicle Maintenance Programs.