Preparing for a DOT Safety Audit

You’re sitting at your desk when the telephone rings. The Department of Transportation has just told you that a safety audit will be done on your transportation company. Is your company prepared?

If you’re an owner or a manager of a trucking company, you do not have to panic when the time comes for a DOT audit. Properly training your management team so that they understand the DOT regulations will ensure that your company is operating in compliance at all times. When a trucking management team fully understands what the DOT expects, an unexpected check of the records can be painless and stress free for everyone that is involved.

What is the purpose of a DOT safety audit?

When DOT performs a their check they are there to evaluate the company’s performance in safety and to ensure that all record-keeping meets their requirements. Below is a review that covers the typical safety audit, and what they look for. The audits vary from state to state. There packets are available in every state that will instruct you on how to keep in compliance.

It is recommended that you ask for a DOT safety audit packet that is relevant for your area of operations. The packet will explain all DOT regulations that you must follow.

An audit typically involves six categories that will be inspected. General, Driver, Operational, Vehicle, Hazardous Materials and Accidents.

General:

A company needs to show that they have proper liability coverage. All required documentation will be listed in the packet that covers your area. Dot safety auditors will also request to view the company’s accident register. All recordable DOT accidents must be listed. The accident register has to be in place, even if there are no recordable accidents.

Under the general review, vehicle markings could also be inspected to ensure proper markings on all commercial vehicles. DOT will also review all training records that involve transportation safety and any other training records that involve their regulations.

Driver

DOT safety audits will review every driver’s CDL, qualifications, and alcohol and drug testing records. Management must also have a means of tracking CDL expiration dates. Under the driver category, there are several mandatory documents that are required. You can get the full list of requirements in a DOT safety audit packet.

Operational

Any company that operates a commercial motor vehicle must have record-keeping detailing driver’s hours of service. DOT safety auditors expect at least 6 months of driver logs.

Vehicles

In this category, DOT safety audits want to see detailed record-keeping of each commercial vehicle that includes maintenance, repairs and inspections.

Hazardous materials

DOT safety auditors will want to review all Hazmat related documentation that can include licenses, storage, labels, placards, training and endorsements.

Accidents

Because safety is the main concern, all driver accidents and injuries will be reviewed for proper documentation to ensure all regulations were met.

A company that has a management team that follows all regulations when handling everyday operations will likely be in compliance during a safety audit. Company’s can request a DOT safety audit packet through their state Department Of Transportation office and the packets are also available online.

Safety and Health in the Workplace – Fire Extinguisher Training

Safety and health in the workplace involves educating employees on fire prevention. But there’s one aspect of fire prevention that more often than not, fails to get mentioned at most fire safety trainings. Teaching how to use a fire extinguisher should be included in your next fire safety training. Like most safety and health trainings, be sure to include other background and underlying information of fire basics in addition to these so students will understand why extinguishers do what they do. Here are two fire extinguishing categories to teach; Fuel Classifications and Types of Extinguishers.

Fuel Classifications - Fires are classified into class A, B, C or D. The classification of a fire depends on the type of fuel or product that is burning. It’s very important to use the correct extinguisher because if the wrong one is used, the fire could be made worse. Someone could get seriously hurt. For this reason, a user must first understand the classification of the fuel.

  • Class A – This fuel is the most common material in our everyday lives and in our homes. Class A materials include cloth, wood, paper or plastics. This includes almost everything in our home and offices.
  • Class B – Class B fuels generally are in working areas like garages, maintenance areas, shops and factories. Class B materials are flammable gases and liquids such as gasoline. Other chemicals that are class B fuels are grease, oil and acetones.
  • Class C – Class C fuels are electrical or energize equipment. Live electricity is what makes the equipment fuel, therefore that equipment has to be plugged in.
  • Class D – Class D fuels are metals. Think -um- when thinking Class D fuel. Metals such as potassium, sodium, aluminum and magnesium. This type of fuel requires special extinguishing agents that are not listed in this article.

Types of Extinguishers – Now that we know how burn-able materials are classified into fuel, it makes sense to learn which type of extinguisher is used for each.

The three most common types of extinguishers are; Water, Carbon dioxide and Dry chemical.

  1. Water – Water filled extinguishers are essentially large squirt guns. They are filled with ordinary water. Water extinguishers are silver and about 2 feet high. They weigh about 20 to 25 pounds. The water is kept under air pressure so it will spray when needed. One of the ways that you eliminate fire is to take away the heat. An ordinary water extinguisher can be used to eliminate heat from class A fires (wood, cloth, paper) only. Never attempt to extinguish a class B, C or D fire with a water fire extinguisher.
  2. Carbon dioxide – Carbon dioxide extinguishers are filled with carbon dioxide and are also under pressure. They can be anywhere from 5 to 100 pounds. Carbon dioxide is a nonflammable gas. It puts out class B and C fires because it displaces or takes away the oxygen. The carbon dioxide in the extinguisher comes out very cold. For this reason it cools the fire as well.
  3. Dry Chemical ABC – A dry chemical extinguisher is also identified as an ABC extinguisher. They are red and range from 5 to 20 pounds. A dry chemical extinguisher is pressurized nitrogen and filled with a yellow powder composite of monoammonium phosphate. The extinguisher coats the fuel with a thin layer of dust, thus separating the oxygen away from the fuel. Dry chemical extinguishers are effective at extinguishing electrical (class C) fires as well as class A and B. ABC extinguishers are preferred because they are versatile and they can be used in almost any situation.

Public Safety Software – How It Works With Real Life

Public Safety Software is a specialized industry that utilizes technology to increase safety and seeks to create a continuous flow of information. Public Safety Software Companies compete for the most efficient and effective technologies. This industry is involved with many aspects of law enforcement and public safety agencies. Fire, Police, Emergency, and Citizen Services use the most sophisticated, user-friendly software in daily department processes.

The need for public safety software can be found at all levels of law enforcement: state, county, and city. At the city level, agencies are smaller and will typically have a single jurisdictional setup; whereas county and state levels, which typically have a larger group of users, will desire a multi-jurisdictional configuration.

The goal of public safety software is to make everyday department processes easier, and to make the deployment of emergency services less complex and more efficient.

Public safety software is-comprised-of various components.

Records Management Software, a major part of law enforcement software is used for maintaining and logging records within a department. These records can include police records, emergency paperwork, and administrative records. When an emergency call is placed to the dispatcher, it is the dispatcher’s job to assign emergency services to the reported location. The information from that dispatch call is then saved in the RMS system for future use. The dispatcher uses Computer Aided Dispatch Software to send help in an emergency situation, and to keep in contact with the officers on patrol. This software utilizes maps and GPS to pinpoint the closest emergency personnel and assign them to that emergency. The dispatcher then sends a message to the patrol officer notifying them to report to the location of the emergency. In cases where lives are in danger, like a car accident or heart attack, every second is critical in the execution of the public safety process.

The officer receives this information from the dispatcher using Mobile software which allows communication between the officer and the dispatcher. In some cases, the officer can have instant access to the RMS system while they are out on patrol. This feature provides additional safety by making more information available to the officer. Most public safety software companies offer a mobile solution for both Fire and Police departments, but few offer completely browser-based software systems, which enables easier access to the user.

Fire Departments use their mobile solution for many applications. En-route to a call, firefighters can acquire valuable knowledge before they even step foot into a burning building. For example, the firefighters can be informed of any chemicals located at that location, what is the current business occupying the building, and even view working IP cameras installed at that location.

Since communication is the key to success, it is always important for public safety agencies to keep open communication with the citizens they protect. Features new to the public safety software industry are services that the community can use to stay informed. A Citizen Services website allows a community to view crime statistics, and can even file online reports for minor crimes via the agency internet site. Some software companies even offer the ability for residents of a community to request a ‘home watch’ while they are on vacation. Businesses can keep any emergency contact information on file with the appropriate agencies. With these types of “citizen services,” the community can become more involved by viewing crime videos via a YouTube Channel, which can aid in identifying criminals. Anonymous tips can be entered with the video for the police department to review.

Communities can benefit from this technology in many ways. With comprehensive, easy to use software, effectiveness and efficiency of public safety agencies will be increased. If the 911 dispatcher can assign emergency services more quickly and efficiently, first responders can arrive on the scene sooner, thereby saving more lives. Additionally, the more information that is available to responding police officers and firefighters, the better prepared they will be to perform their jobs, therefore improving their own personal safety. The community as a whole can also benefit from this shared knowledge, since informed citizens will be better prepared to prevent and react to emergency situations.

Toyota’s Philosophy of Car Safety

Toyota aims to design cars with high level safety for all passengers. Whether in the front seat or the back seta, the safety concern remains same for all when it comes to designing Toyota cars. The car manufacturers takes into consideration all levels in order to avoid accidents, give signals, offer good handling, good responsiveness, and also take care of safer traffic environments. All the measures and technologies adopted strive for excellence with the sole aim to minimize impact of an accident.

To ensure extremely high level of car safety, Toyota follows a unique philosophy that includes parking technology, active safety, passive safety, pre-cash system, and rescue.

Technology that supports parking includes features like clearance sonar image, intelligent parking assist system, and back guide monitor. These help the driver by enhancing visibility and maneuvering when parking.

Then there is active safety system that helps prevent accidents and also minimize the impact of worst driving situations. Advanced technologies are adopted by Toyota in the form of vehicle stability control and vehicle dynamic integrated management. Both these technologies work to alert the driver of any dangerous situation while driving and facilitate the driver to stay away from danger. Using these advancements the three basic functions of drive, turn, and stop are improved which in turn enhances driver as well as passenger safety.

Pre-crash safety system is another great innovation by Toyota, an innovation that predicts all types of frontal collision before it happens. This prevents the cause of an accident and also helps reduce damage. When an obstruction is noticed on the way, the system notifies the driver through a warning buzzer well in advance about the possibility of the collision. If in case the collision is unavoidable then the technology works to reduce the impact speed and helps minimize injury.

Passive safety technology helps to reduce the consequences of an accident or damage that occurs while driving. Cars are designed with the power to absorb the energy of a crash with the introduction of crumple zones or impact absorbing front body structure. Passive safety includes various other protective features like seatbelts with pretensioner, high integrity cabin, head impact protection, whiplash injury lessening, and airbags.

Toyota also adopts the policy of rescue. This step taken for safety of car passengers is unique in its own kind. According to this measure, in case of an accident information is automatically transmitted to the emergency dispatch services. When the air bags get activated the location of the car is automatically detected and the system also contacts the required authority for help. This actually reduces the severity of an injury as the response time is drastically shortened.

All these stages of car safety along with committed policies and exclusive philosophy, Toyota has achieved unmatched level of car safety.

Health and Safety Plan Template – Use a Template and Save Time, Money and Effort

If you operate a small business then you must ensure your policies have a health and safety plan included within them. This document is important as it outlines to all your staff, suppliers and contractors what the rules are for your business. The last thing you need when operating a business are issues with regards to safety. Your team’s safety is important and keeping your team members safe is critical.

A good health and safety plan should be detailed enough to highlight all the things you need to consider any health and safety events that could occur in your business. Obviously there will be some things that are specific to your business, however there are certainly things that will not be specific. These would be typical items that could be relevant to any type of business.

Really, creating a health and Safety Plan template should not be an onerous task.

These things could include Fire Safety Procedures, Accident Procedures, Reporting Procedures or Disaster Procedures. No doubt these elements of safety apply to any type of business.

If you need to create a Safety Plan then you must consider using a template. A Health and Safety Plan template is going to have a significant amount of information in it that will allow you to simply adopt the relevant information for your business. Should any of the information be irrelevant then it is easy to delete this information or amend it slightly to suit your particular business.

Really, creating a health and Safety Plan template should not be an onerous task. Using templates certainly save significant time and effort and also allows you to spend more time on the aspects of your business that are more important.

Use templates and save yourself the headache. The amount of money it costs to buy a template far outweighs the time it will take for you to create your own from scratch.

There are plenty of documents that you should include in your policies and procedures for your business. The safety plan is just one of them. You should also consider the amount of detail you should include in these policies. It makes sense to have enough detail in these documents and also make them easy to read. After all, who wants to read a massive unformatted document of text? Not many people will and not many people have the time. Therefore it makes perfect sense to ensure the document is easy to read, relevant and gives the reader the information they need to keep them informed.

Save time and money today and consider getting hold of a template so you can spend your time working on your business instead of in your business.