As a driver, you spend a lot of time on your own, away from the head office. You need to know they have your back, that your company has a strong safety system, and that the vehicle and equipment you operate on the company’s behalf have the latest in safety technology. This is particularly true if you are transporting dangerous goods and hazardous materials.

Since you work in isolation much of the time, you need to take responsibility for your safety and own it. Don’t be sidelined by a back injury, a fall, injury from corrosive material, or a rollover. Safety isn’t just a word or a practice imposed on you; it’s your livelihood and your life at stake.

Justin Cheverie, General Manager of Alchemist Specialty Carriers and a member of SafetyDriven’s Board of Directors, is proud of his company’s robust safety-focused mindset where everyone is a safety champion. The company embraces a culture of support, community, and openness. Cheverie says it all comes down to communication and has some observations and recommendations about keeping the lines of communication open:

• Recognize that communication is a two-way street; it lets you learn about practices and policies that affect you and it gives you an opportunity to express your concerns.
• Be open to feedback. Open communication gives the company the opportunity to express their expectations of you as part of their team.
• Keep safety in mind during all operations, including the simple things, like entering a building.
• Observe others—you may learn something—and be sure to submit a safety commendation when you see someone going a great job.
• Most importantly, stay in contact with your supervisor every day you are on the road.

Being a leader in your company’s safety practice helps you and your colleagues. Check your mindset and make sure you recognize the importance of:

• Rigorous training
• Using personal protective equipment
• Daily inspections and annual trailer testing
• Drivers’ buy-in to safety
• Applying rigid controls and best practices
• Attending safety training and seminars
• Knowing the characteristics and hazards of the material you are hauling

It’s to everyone’s benefit to operate safely:

• Ensure you are compliant with all safety practices, including certification.
• Pay attention to the many resources available to keep you aware and informed of the latest in safety policies—your company’s safety bulletins and emails, driver advisory committee, and safety training from SafetyDriven.
• Consider joining a committee that will keep you in the know and allow you to share your expertise from the road.
• If you see something missing from your company’s safety practice, ask for it. (You’ll communicate in an objective, helpful, and uncritical way, of course!)

Safety is everyone’s job. Be as great at safety as you are at driving! As Cheverie notes, “Implementing and supporting an active and positive safety program provides many benefits to the health, success, and growth of both the business and the individual.” By becoming a safety leader, you’ll be a role model for new drivers, a good example for old hands, and a significant contributor to your own and your company’s growth and success.