Safety should always be at the forefront of every decision you make. It takes work every minute of the day. Its more than just talk; you need to make it your culture, and every member of your organization must buy in.
By John Paglia III

No one wants the call. The one that states someone has been injured or involved in a motor vehicle accident. The unfortunate truth is that no matter how hard you try to be preventative, eventually an accident or incident will occur. The frequency of these calls depends on a total team effort and focus to be accident and incident free, companywide. How you handle the situation in the very beginning can save a life most importantly, but in the litigious hungry world we live in, you can also prevent or lower the risk of being falsely accused down the road by thoroughly documenting the scene and aftermath.

Take Advantage of Available Technology
Taking steps to prevent/reduce the frequency of accidents occurring is extremely important. Having strict hiring standards, strong drug free workplace policies, constant driver training and retraining, and an upper level fleet maintenance program, are some of the top ways to reduce the frequency of an accident or workplace injury. Accident Event Recorders (AERs) are becoming more popular and affordable by the minute. At once a premium, these forms of measures are becoming industry standard when they are used to identify risky driver behavior.

We are currently in the process of going through a demo with different camera companies in parts of our fleet to determine which system will best serve us. What I like most is to have the ability to have a system in place that will send alerts for bad driver behavior. This gives us an opportunity to globally play offense in preventing accidents or injuries. What I have found directly, is that these drivers encourage this coaching and actions. Once an issue is corrected, behavior has improved. As an example, in a 15 second video clip, we noticed a driver yawning prior to a hard brake. That clip led to a conversation that day, that the driver was participating in late night activities with his family and these were clearly about to affect his job performance and security. Long story short, he discontinued these activities, his sleep improved and he has not had a triggered alert for a hard brake since; his stopping distance and following distance have also improved. Without cameras in place, I believe it may have been too late to find out what was needed to fix this issue.

A Moving Target
Over the next few articles, I plan to continue the topic of ways to reduce the frequency of accidents or injuries prior to ultimately explaining what you can do when one does occur and how the situation should be handled. One thing to remember is this is a constant moving target. Every day we have added challenges that affect how great our safety record can be. One thing that remains constant: if your safety policy is not great and preventative, neither will the success of your company be financially. Safety should always be at the forefront of every decision you make. It should be made for all the right reasons, not just because that is what your insurance company tells you to do. Safety takes work every minute of the day. It is more than just talk, you need to make it your culture, and every member of your organization must buy in. For those that do not commit to excellence in safety, they should be removed immediately. | WA

John Paglia III is a 4th generation garbage man. Before he climbed the ranks to become Florida Express Environmental’s General Manager, he had a successful career in college and professional athletics. John has been around the garbage industry since his car seat days. Currently, John is focused on growing his company and offering the highest level of customer service and prolonging the world we live in today. John wakes up every day knowing the impact professional haulers have on their community is far greater than most realize. He can be reached at (352) 629-4349, e-mail or visit