Fleet Safety – What Do the “Best of the Best” Have in Common?

Last week I participated in the Brake Annual “Best of the Best” Fleet Safety Conference.  Brake is a UK non-profit dedicated to road safety.  The day was packed with compelling fleet safety sessions from a wide variety of presenters.  As the name connotes, these speakers are the “Best of the Best”—the award-winning fleet safety leaders.  Listening to all the different presentations, there was one common theme that was repeated over and over again:  a successful safety program starts at the top.

As each presenter outlined his/her success story or key success criteria, and the necessary commitment from an organization’s leadership was reiterated over and over again.

What sparks an organization’s leader to have a strong safety commitment?  The motivations varied.  One presentation showed pictures of crashed vehicle, after crashed vehicle and inventory spewed all over the road.  The negative financial impact of crashes ignited a stronger safety commitment.  Sadly, sometimes leadership prioritizes safety because of a fatality.   We heard the heartbreaking story of a young cyclist losing her life after she was hit by a mixer.  A government agency’s leadership is committed to safety because of a strong sense of duty to citizens.  Another spoke of the need to lower insurance costs.  Finally, one of the presenters talked about the company’s pledge to bring employees home safely to their families.  The leadership of this company sees employees as precious assets, and wants to invest in keeping them safe.

No matter what the motivation, it was clear these companies now have a strong safety culture.  It is a core company value.  What about you?  Does your company leadership champion safety?   What do you think motivates this value?