We Can’t Manage What We Don’t Measure

It’s been 35 years since Netherlands-born Pieter Bergstein launched Standard Energy with a single hot oil truck. His start-up has since evolved into one of the Lone Star State’s most successful oil field services companies. Pieter’s success is a product of old-fashioned hard work and a knack for finding new ways to do things. Take the large monitor mounted on the wall in his office.

It’s perfectly plausible to assume it’s there so Pieter can watch his beloved Netherlands soccer team in action. But remember who we’re talking about. Pieter’s passion for innovation is equaled by his commitment to protecting his employees from workplace accidents.

The screen is actually the receiving end of an in-vehicle monitoring system (IVMS) Pieter installed in Standard Energy vehicles. The system provides Pieter and his safety manager, Jack Yates, a practical tool for preventing the most common cause of on-the-job injuries: motor vehicle accidents.

Jack can monitor employees’ driving habits and get real-time data on risky behaviors such as speeding, not wearing a seatbelt, driving while fatigued and using a cell phone. That’s powerful information to have at his fingertips, but Jack stresses that his goal isn’t to spy on employees or shame them into driving safely.

“We play the recordings in safety meetings and use them as a coaching tool,” said Jack. “We’re not trying to embarrass drivers. The pressure people get from their peers is usually enough to change their behaviors.”

IVMS is based on the principle that we cannot manage what we do not measure. Studies indicate that when it comes to correcting unsafe driving behaviors, IVMS measures up pretty well.

IVMS can contribute to a 60 percent reduction in speeding, an 80 percent increase in seatbelt use and a 75 percent reduction in aggressive driving.

Of course, not every business can afford to invest in IVMS and other safety tools powered by the latest technology. But that doesn’t mean you have to pat your employees on the back every morning, tell them to “be safe out there” and hope for the best. Some of the most effective strategies for keeping our focus behind the wheel also happen to be some of the most low-tech. National Distracted Driving Awareness Month is the perfect time to start promoting those strategies in your workplace.

If you decide to invest in IVMS, follow these tips for a smooth implementation:

  • Conduct a pilot test, using the system in a few vehicles before you roll it out companywide. Once you do, remember that you will have to make adjustments as you and your employees get comfortable with the process.
  • Make it clear that IVMS is a coaching tool, not a tool for “spying” on employees and disciplining them for unsafe behaviors.
  • Stress that your goal is to see every employee go home safely at the end of the day, and IVMS is a powerful tool for achieving that goal.
  • Encourage drivers to think of IVMS as a challenge to improve their driving score every week. Competition fosters engagement, which is critical to any safety initiative’s success.
  • Do not treat IVMS as a stand-alone tool. Introduce it as one element of a comprehensive fleet safety program.

Texas Mutual recently equipped more than 30 of its company vehicles with IVMS as part of a pilot test. Real-time data and weekly report cards help our management team ensure that our safety services consultants practice the safe behaviors they promote among our 60,000-plus policyholders.

Get these is free training resources
The oil and gas safety roundtable recently produced a comprehensive driver safety training program that addresses common issues such as seatbelt use, fatigued driving, distracted driving and IVMS. We encourage you to take advantage of the free material and learn how to make safe driving part of your company’s culture.

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