Driver Safety – 300:29:1
By Jeff Cassell
The Moston Public Transit Agency has been implementing a new plan to greatly improve safety NORMS. George, the executive director, wants an update on the progress.
“It’s going great,” said Ryan, the supervisor responsible for leading the implementation. “We have everyone using a new language and focusing on changing behaviors. Only yesterday in the driver’s room, the discussion focused on removing the 300 unsafe behaviors and almost everyone joined in the discussion. They talked about our vision, mission and values and what they were doing to achieve this.”
“300 unsafe behaviors, what do you mean?” asked George.
“Part of the training explained to the drivers is the safety theory of 300:29:1,” said Linda, a dispatcher. “Many years ago, Herbert William Heinrich explained that in workplace injuries, 300 unsafe behaviors will result in injuries 300 times, 29 minor injuries and one serious injury. He went onto say that you cannot prevent the 29 minor injuries or the 1 serious injury. You cannot directly reduce injuries, they will happen. However, you can reduce the unsafe behaviors that lead to injuries. That is where the focus should be.”
“The same logic applies to safety on the road,” Ryan added. “For every catastrophe or serious accident, we will have had 29 minor accidents and for every minor accident we will have performed 300 unsafe behaviors. We cannot reduce accidents, but we can reduce unsafe behaviors. We have challenged the drivers to reduce or eliminate their 300 unsafe behaviors as a norm. No unsafe behaviors = no accidents. This explanation helps turn the gray subject of safety into a very clear, black and white issue.”
“Obviously, these statistics of 300:29:1 are just a ratio to make the point,” Linda said. “In reality, it could be 475:36:1, or any other ratio. The point is the only way to reduce accidents is to reduce your unsafe behaviors.”
“A way to reinforce this is the new poster we have hung at the exit to the yard,” Ryan said. “They see this every day and it will serve as a reminder for them to think of the 12 safe behaviors on our Vision, Mission and Values poster.”
“Ok,” said George. “But what are the results that have been achieved?”
“The new plan has only been in place for two months,” Ryan answered. “The good news is we have had no accidents at all in that time. But, it’s too short a period to claim success. What we do know is that everyone is on board with creating the safety norms. The route supervisor has noticed that everyone is now staying back at least 4 seconds. We have changed this and many other behaviors.”
“As part of the process to improve our safety norms, I went through a comprehensive Trainer Certification Process,” said Greg, the driving trainer. “Following this, we introduced two new safety practices into our training. These are commentary driving and the 30-day LLLC focus. Commentary driving means that the trainee has to talk and explain everything they are doing while they are driving. They voice any concerns, particularly about the application of LLLC Defensive Driving practices. I try to have two other trainees aboard watching and listening and they are to be attentive and critique the driving. After a time, the trainees switch places and change roles. To improve our safety norms, we took our existing drivers through this process as part of their ongoing training. It has led to a
“That really is effective training,” said George. “What do you mean by the 30-day LLLC Focus?”
“To make a practice an automatic habit, a norm, you need to force yourself to follow this practice for 30 days,” Greg replied. “If you do that, you will likely take this practice on as a norm. So we ask the drivers as they are about to start driving each day to say to themselves, ‘I will look ahead, I will look around, I will leave room and I will communicate.’ They are then to rethink these LLLC practices at least every 30 minutes and put them into practice.”
“The drivers have willingly accepted these new practices,” Ryan said. It makes sense to them and everyone wants to be a more accomplished professional. We are well on the way to creating the safety culture we sought when we started this process. A safety culture where everyone does it right, the first time, every time by removing or reducing risk and performing no unsafe behaviors.”
“That sounds like our vision, mission and values” George said. “Great work, carry on.”
This series by Jeff Cassell will continue in the November 2015 Issue!
Jeff Cassell is president of Transit & Paratransit Company (TAPTCO) Hudson, Ohio. TAPTCO provides training courses that change driver behaviors. Visit www.taptco.com