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How to Improve Your EMS Agency's Safety Policy

David McGowan | Jan 24, 2017

Executive, operation and safety leadership should make sure safety policies are reviewed annually and up-to-date. The New Year is an excellent time to review your organization’s safety procedures and policies and start the year off on the right foot. This oversight helps ensure that established safety procedures and policies are making the most impact and fostering a sustainable culture of safety.

1. Review Your Safety Policy Once a Year

In addition to periodic review of safety policies, it’s critical that policies are clearly understood across the organization and strictly enforced. Consider implementing an Employee Acceptance Statement that is signed by all employees. This acknowledges that everyone has read and understands the policy manual that protects the employees as well as the employer. Be sure to:

  • Make policies clear, easily read and not in conflict with other policies.
  • Review safety policies as part of an existing continuing education program.
  • Enforce equally and fairly – across all levels and departments of the organization.
  • Ensure all policies are review/approved by the human resource department.

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2. Create a Onboarding Process to Ensure Safe Drivers

Creating a comprehensive and repeatable training process will help new employees start their careers on the right foot – and instill a “safety first” approach to emergency vehicle operation.

  • Hire for safety.  Check motor vehicle records and at fault crashes to determine if the candidate is too high of a risk.
  • Clear Onboarding Process.  New employees must be swiftly introduced to your Safety Culture and how they are going to be held accountable to it.
  • Employee Understanding of all polices is critical to ensure new employees are following your rules as well as the consequences for not adhering to them.
  • Grace Period.  Provide time to evaluate and critique driving skills during ride-alongs with new employees.  After policy training, don’t assume that bad habits will disappear. Correct unsafe driving behavior before employees are cleared to work a shift.

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3. Measure Your Safety Performance

You can’t improve what you don’t measure. Use lagging (historical) and leading (proactive) indicators for process improvement. Lagging indicators may include crash losses, lost employee days or worker compensation claims. Leading indicators can include safety audits, number of training hours spent on safety, safety perception survey results or safety metrics from driver performance monitoring devices. After periodic evaluations, if lagging indicators are low, don’t assume all is well. Focus on enhancing and improving leading indicators.

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