We have previously introduced how safety violations should never be normalized in your fleet operations. Let’s dig into the topic a little deeper and discuss risk mitigation best practices to eliminate the danger that normalized deviance represents.
This photo represents normalized deviance: the concept of gradual acceptance of conditions and performance that are individually, incrementally unacceptable, but based on several factors – human nature, workload, inattention, insufficient training or supervision, and others – become accepted, often with catastrophic results.
Combat Normalized Deviance
It begins by first recognizing the problem, hopefully before a catastrophic accident within your fleet operations.
1. Leadership – Ask yourself some tough questions: Is safety really our top priority or do we just talk a good game? In the picture example, supervisors saw this situation countless times and did not address it, and worse, accepted the performance that created it. Your safety culture will reflect the actions and attitudes of your leaders.
2. Empowerment – Identifying problems like this won’t happen from your corporate headquarters. Your safety program must be owned by your line personnel and shop managers, the people who see these situations every day. Near Miss and Hazard Reporting programs are powerful tools in safety and compliance initiatives, encouraging employees to examine their workspace with a fresh eye and remain on the lookout for potential hazards. Empowered, engaged employees are your first and best line of defense.
3. Constant vigilance– Normalization of deviance occurs over time. Inspections, reviews, training, incentives, early interventions, and other tools will help you get and stay ahead of situations like this one, before they result in a damaging incident.
The Four Options in Risk Mitigation
With any risk there are four options: accept it, avoid it, limit it, or transfer it. In our industry, no one can accept this kind of risk. Acceptance and inaction is far too dangerous and costly. It is similarly impossible to completely avoid it; if you have vehicles they must be maintained, with all of the hazards that the work entails. The strategies above are broad components of a good safety program that is designed to limit this type of risk. If you already have a safety program in place, reinvigorate your employees’ focus and commitment to it with incentive programs, communication and awareness campaigns.
Finally, you can transfer the risk. At Amerit, we assume risk mitigation for our clients every day. Whether working on our client’s property or in our own garage, our team of experts goes far beyond simply maintaining vehicles, we also ensure that all maintenance facilities are managed with a focus on safety, compliance, and attention to detail. With Amerit as your partner, your facility is safer, your risk is lower, and you’re free to focus on your business. Contact us today to learn more!
Want to read more about this topic? Check out the following blog post:
By James Finta, Director of Safety and Compliance