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33 CHAPTER FOUR EVIDENCE REVIEW This chapter presents findings relating to safety management According to Jennings and Beaver, a disadvantage for in small motor carriers. Most information in this chapter is small firms is the difficulty of sustaining both tactical and based on the project literature review; its methodology was strategic decision making. A small company's manager has a described in chapter one. In addition, this chapter cites and qualitatively different job than a manager in a larger firm. He recaps pertinent findings from the project survey of carrier or she cannot specialize or focus narrowly on one aspect of managers (chapter two) and from the ten case study inter- the business. Rather, the manager must fulfill multiple roles views (chapter three). Chapter topics include: while responding to multiple exigencies. A risk is that man- agers become spread too thin and are continually occupied · Business, operational, and safety management in small addressing immediate demands and short-term opportunities. companies They may make poor business decisions or take unwise actions · Small company violation and crash rates because they are not able to rise above the fray to think strate- · Vehicle equipment and maintenance gically. Also, there is a risk in having a single key decision · Operational planning and risk avoidance maker. The lack of checks and balances means that small · Driver hiring companies are more vulnerable to wrong decisions based on · Driver orientation, training, and communications the biases or mistaken beliefs of their leaders. A successful · Driver supervision small business manager must be versatile, multi-talented, able · Crash and incident investigation to oversee both the operational and business sides of the enter- · Carrier performance tracking and benchmarking prise, and able to think strategically as well as tactically. · Management development · Comprehensive safety management approaches. As with many other businesses, individuals starting a truck or bus transport company tend to be much more knowl- BUSINESS, OPERATIONAL, AND SAFETY edgeable and proficient with regard to the work of the busi- MANAGEMENT IN SMALL COMPANIES ness than with regard to the business per se. Although most small carrier owners and managers are former drivers they This section addresses management in small companies, may be relatively inexperienced in running a business (Sage including business management, operational management Corporation and FMCSA 2009). Although a principal moti- and supervision, and safety management. Some of the stud- vation for small business owners is making money, many are ies cited relate specifically to transportation companies, but unprepared for the rigors of business and financial manage- most of this section relates to business and industrial man- ment (Entrepreneur Media 1999). agement in general. Transportation has its own unique issues, but by and large the same management principles and prac- Once in business, carrier owners may find themselves tices apply across all types of businesses. overwhelmed with business concerns. Starting and sustain- ing a business involves developing a business plan, estab- Business Management lishing legal status (e.g., sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation, and LLC), licensing (both business and operat- In a nontransportation study, Jennings and Beaver (1997) ing authority), finding and maintaining a location/facility, explored the competitive advantages that small firms might truck and other equipment purchase or leasing, costing of have over larger ones, and the pitfalls that they might face. services, assessing and dealing with competition, advertis- Small firms' advantages include low overhead and the flexi- ing, obtaining loans and other financing, record keeping, bility to pursue relatively small market opportunities quickly. taxes, cash flow, contracts, creating a website, and many Small company management is close to, and usually part of, other management challenges largely unrelated to the work the firm's operations. Employee relationships are direct and of transport. The typical small business owner starts as an informal, allowing many problems to be resolved immedi- expert worker, but must transition to become a business per- ately. There is no need for accountability beyond the com- son and manager (Entrepreneur Media 1999). pany's owner and customers. Jennings and Beaver define small business success as "the sustained satisfaction of prin- Many potential problems may lead to small business fail- cipal stakeholder aspirations." ure. These include insufficient capital, overborrowing, poor
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34 cash flow, inadequate tax and other financial planning, overly · Energize: Make things happen, praise and inspire optimistic sales projection, saturation of the market by com- employees. petition, poor access to markets (e.g., location, information, · Empower: Give workers the tools and authority to per- and contacts), inadequate equipment (especially advanced form well. Encourage individual responsibility and ini- technologies), underpricing of services, inadequate insur- tiative, and involve employees in decision making. ance, lack of staff training and skills, and loose record keep- · Support: Coach and counsel employees. Recognize and ing. Loose record keeping may extend to operational, safety, foster potential in each employee. Be a colleague, not administrative, and financial data (Entrepreneur Media 1999). just a boss. · Communicate: Provide fast, accurate information to FMCSA is developing New Entrant training, which employees and be open to receiving information. includes instruction in "generic" business management prac- tices (Sage Corporation 2009; Goettee et al. 2011). In the cur- Management textbooks such as that by Nelson and Econ- rent research program this instruction is conducted by omy recommend various practices for successful company volunteers from SCORE, a nonprofit association providing leadership. Many of these suggestions are directed toward training and mentoring to small businesses. SCORE teaches increasing employee motivation and productivity, with the small business basics, such as how to develop a business plan, indirect benefit of allowing managers to spend more time on manage finances, and maintain business documentation strategic planning, marketing, and innovation. For example, (SCORE 2009). Business training for new entrants is not a reg- two common recommendations for managers are to delegate ulatory requirement. However, competent business manage- as much as possible and to foster teamwork among employ- ment appears to have a clear relation to safety and overall ees. However, the nature of CMV fleet operations may make operational management. In a large study of 656 carriers of these difficult. In businesses where employees work at one various sizes, Corsi et al. (2002) found that 553 carriers with site, managers may delegate activities such as detail work, satisfactory safety ratings averaged 3% in annual profits, information gathering, repetitive assignments, and surrogate whereas 103 others not rated satisfactory (i.e., rated condi- roles (e.g., filling in for the manager at meetings). Delegating tional or unsatisfactory) averaged 4% in annual losses. such tasks is difficult in a transport environment where drivers are usually not physically present and their jobs are The project survey and case study interviews did not explic- qualitatively different than the manager's. Fostering esprit de itly ask about company business management practices or corps and common purpose among driver employees may financial status. Several interviewees did mention the chal- also be a challenge. There is typically little communication lenge of keeping a small CMV transport company productive, among drivers, and they are each pursuing their own individ- financially viable, and safe, all at the same time. Uncertain ual work goals rather than group goals. Establishing driver cash flow and lack of funds were cited as key reasons for the committees to address company issues or even holding regu- lack of safety investments such as purchases of onboard safety lar meetings among drivers can be problematic. technologies. What kind of personality makes for a successful chief Operational Management and Supervision executive? To find out, Miller and Toulouse (1986) con- ducted a survey study of 97 "small" firms representing Four "classic" functions of management in any organization many different kinds of businesses. Although the firms are planning, organizing, leading, and controlling (Nelson were characterized as "small," they had an average of 382 and Economy 2005). These functions are further explained employees, making them much larger than the average as follows: truck or bus company. Regardless of that, the study pro- vides insights into top executive personality types and how · Plan: Develop organization vision, mission, and spe- personality relates to management style and to success. cific tactics; the "what" and the "how." They identified three types of executive personality types · Organize: Design and build the organization and its struc- or styles, each with its own strengths and potential weak- ture. Designate people for positions and create clarity of nesses. The three types were (1) flexible personality, (2) high roles. nAch (i.e., high need for achievement), and (3) internal · Lead: Be a role model and motivate employees to achieve locus of control. The textbox here defines and describes the company goals. three in greater detail. · Control: Establish performance standards, measure and report progress, take corrective or preventive action, Is one of these personality types best for a small com- enforce accountability. pany? Although there are likely to be many exceptions, it appears that the largest number of small company leaders fit Nelson and Economy (2005) also suggest four "new" the flexible personality profile. High nAch individuals may functions of management: energizing, empowering, support- function better in larger, established organizations. Internal ing, and communicating. These functions include the follow- locus of control (LOC) is almost always a positive character- ing activities: istic for company managers and professionals in general.
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35 Policy Three Chief Executive Personality Types (1) Flexible Personality. Someone with a flexible personality is informal, confident, assertive, and adventurous. Organizing CEOs with flexible personalities often lack thorough analysis in their decision making. Rather, they tend to act on intuition rather than formal investigation. They Planning & often thrive in small firms, but less often in large ones Auditing & Implementing where decisions are often more complex and require Oversight thorough analysis. Companies with flexible CEOs are often informal, niche-oriented, and adaptable to vari- ous market conditions and opportunities. Responsibilities are delegated to subordinates who may become highly Measuring Performance Feedback loops motivated based on their sense of personal involvement in the company. to improve (2) High nAch. The acronym "nAch" stands for need for Reviewing performance achievement. Someone with high nAch is proactive, ana- lytical, and driven toward specific and tangible accom- Performance plishments. CEOs with this personality type are usually FIGURE 4 Key aspects and activities of a successful health successful in large firms and stable environments. They and safety management system. Adapted from Health and are risk-averse and use long-term planning in their deci- Safety Executive (2008). sion making. Firms operating under these types of CEOs are often formal and specialized. Often these managers do not delegate well, and they may stifle initiative by OSHA Safety Management Guidelines their subordinates by being overcontrolling. (3) Internal LOC. Although presented as a distinct, third The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) manager type, this personality type does contain some is an agency of the U.S. Department of Labor responsible for elements of the first two types. A person with an inter- occupational safety and health, generally relating to work nal LOC is task-oriented, adaptable, and believes that activities other than driving. Nevertheless, much of their consequences, good or bad, stem directly from his or her work relates to safety in general, including driving. OSHA behavior and efforts. In contrast, a person with external has published a handbook (OSHA 2005) to help small busi- LOC may believe that outcomes "just happen" inde- ness employers meet the legal requirements imposed by the pendently of their efforts. A CEO with internal LOC is proactive and decisive, but also willing to delegate. Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, and to help These individuals are generally "risk neutral" in their them achieve in-compliance status in an OSHA workplace decision making and may find success in any size firm, inspection. The handbook includes information about legal especially in dynamic environments. Their companies requirements, tips to help businesses meet these require- tend to be informal and adaptable. ments, self-inspection checklists, and information on sources for assistance. The handbook encourages owners to develop a safety and health management system, which addresses four basic elements of good safety and health pro- The project case study interviews did not include any per- grams: (1) management commitment and employee involve- sonality testing, but did provide impressions of managers' ment, (2) worksite analysis, (3) hazard prevention and control, styles and how their companies operated. By and large, the and (4) training for employees, supervisors, and managers. companies were informal, niche-oriented, and adaptable to The following textbox defines these four elements and pro- market opportunities, and their managers appeared to best fit vides examples. the "flexible personality" type. Safety Management OSHA's Four Key Elements of Company Occupational Safety and Health Programs This section presents general concepts relating to safety man- · Management Commitment and Employee Involvement. agement in organizations. The context is not specific to The manager or management team leads the way by motor carrier safety, although many general safety manage- establishing policies, assigning responsibilities, setting an ment principles apply directly to transportation. At a top example, and involving employees. Suggested examples: level, safety management involves many of the same ele- Hold meetings with all employees to communicate ments as organizational management in general. Figure 4 is your safety and health policies and objectives. Get a schematic illustrating the flow of the key aspects and activ- employees involved and encourage them to help iden- ities of a successful health and safety management system tify and resolve safety and health issues. within a company.
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36 Ensure that you, your managers, and your supervisors The National Safety Council's 14 Elements of a all follow the same safety requirements that apply to Successful Safety and Health Program employees. For instance, wear a hard hat in work areas · Recognize, evaluate, and control hazards if you require other employees to do so. · Design and engineer safe workplaces Periodically review what you have accomplished in meet- · Manage safety performance ing your objectives and reevaluate whether you need new · Manage regulatory compliance objectives or revisions to the program. · Address occupational health · Worksite Analysis. Managers continually analyze the work- · Collect safety-related information site and processes to identify existing and potential haz- · Incorporate and involve employees at all levels ards. Suggested examples: · Motivate employees and positively modify their behavior Request a consultation visit from government officials and attitudes overseeing occupational safety and health to get a full, · Train employees and orient them with new procedures independent survey of your operations. Contract for and equipment the same services from expert private consultants if you · Communicate safety-related information prefer. · Manage and control external exposures Make sure your employees feel comfortable telling you · Manage external environments about their safety concerns; for example, equipment or · Integrate safety into hiring and placement processes procedures that appear dangerous. · Measure the performance of safety-related activities. Review several years of accident, injury, or illness records to identify patterns that can help you devise strategies for improvement. · Hazard Prevention and Control. Establish methods to a major requirement in motor carrier safety. Note, however, reduce or otherwise control existing or potential hazards. Suggested examples: that the other 13 items listed are not primarily regulatory in Enforce the rules for safe work procedures. Ask employ- nature. Rather, they involve active management that is largely ees to help you establish a disciplinary system that is fair "beyond compliance" (Knipling 2009). A generic element and understood by everyone. such as "Manage and control external exposures" has special Provide for regular equipment maintenance and main- relevance to CMV safety because of the large number of tain records of completion. CMV crashes precipitated by the actions of other motorists. Establish access to medical personnel for consultation on employee health matters. Employers do not need to pro- All of NSC's 14 elements were evident in various inter- vide health care, but they must be prepared to deal with viewee statements in the chapter three case study interviews. medical emergencies or other health problems connected "Manage regulatory compliance" was the most recurrent ele- to the workplace. ment and dominated the safety programs of some carriers. · Training for Employees, Supervisors, and Managers. Train "Integrate safety into hiring" was the second most frequently managers, drivers, and other employees to understand mentioned element. and deal with worksite hazards. Suggested examples: Train employees on every potential hazard that they could be exposed to and how to protect themselves. Verify that they understand it. Pay special attention to Safety Culture and Climate new employees. "Culture" embodies a society's shared beliefs, ideals, and Train your supervisors to understand all the hazards faced by employees and how to reinforce training and company behavior patterns. Companies and other organizations have policies. cultures just as larger societies do. Safety culture refers to the Have a behavioral management plan to include posi- shared values and beliefs within an organization that estab- tive recognition for safe performance and, if necessary, lish safety as a priority and drive organizational policies and disciplinary action for misbehaviors. practices. Safety culture is embodied in company priorities, Source: OSHA (2005). rules, management practices, worker behaviors, employee attitudes, and the safety record of the organization. As stated by Glendon and Stanton (2000), safety culture is "funda- mental to an organization's ability to manage safety-related National Safety Council's 14 Elements aspects of its operations." The National Safety Council (NSC) promotes 14 Elements of In CTBSSP Synthesis 14, Short et al. (2007) examined the a Successful Safety and Health Program. The 14 elements role of safety culture in motor carrier safety. The report exam- listed in the textbox apply to industrial organizations and ined different concepts, aspects, and indicators of safety cul- operations of all types (NSC 1998). The 14 elements may be ture, and found it was reflected in the attitudes of both used as a self-evaluation checklist for any organization seek- managers and drivers within a company. Stability of a com- ing to assess its safety management program and practices. pany's labor pool, careful analysis of safety problems, and The fourth item listed ("Manage regulatory compliance") is strong safety communication across the company were among
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37 the key indicators. The synthesis offered a sequence of the Safety committees with worker involvement general steps a company may take to enhance its safety culture, Safety equipment. change specific practices, and attain crash reduction goals. · Risk Explicit recognition and perception of risk factors or Safety climate is similar to safety culture. Although cul- hazards ture embodies values, beliefs, and underlying assumptions, Amount of self-reported risk taking. climate is "a descriptive measure reflecting the workforce's · Control of work pressure perceptions of the organizational atmosphere" (Flin et al. Reasonable individual workloads 2000). Broadly, safety climate is a "snapshot" of the estab- Reasonable work pace lished condition of safety of an organization at a given Realistic expectations. point in time. Any distinctions between "safety culture" and · Competence "safety climate" are far less important than the practices and Worker knowledge and skill outcomes associated with them. Worker qualifications High selection standards. Safety climate is best measured by "leading indicators" of safety activity and performance. In the past two decades, Flin et al. (2000) regard the most significant measures of there has been decreased reliance on "lagging" measures of safety climate to be management attitudes and behaviors in safety such as retrospective statistics on crashes and viola- relation to safety. Positive management attitudes lead to tions. Current emphasis is on using "leading" or predictive other positive practices such as clear safety policies and sys- assessments of safety climate within organizations (Flin et al. tematic employee selection and training. The researchers 2000). This shift is driven by the conclusion that organiza- emphasize the importance of first-line supervisors in setting tional, managerial, and human factors, rather than technical failures, are the prime causes of accidents in industry. By a good work atmosphere and thus a good safety climate for a looking at a company's processes and practices, rather than company's operations. The impact of the supervisor on merely its bottom-line crash or incident statistics, its safety safety management has been realized for many decades. climate can be better assessed. When researchers and safety "The supervisor . . . is the key [person] in industrial accident consultants seek to effectively assess the safety climate of a prevention. His application of the art of supervision to the company, they look at management areas and practices such control of worker performance is the factor of greatest influ- as the following (Flin et al. 2000): ence in successful accident prevention" (Heinrich 1959, quoted in Flin et al. 2000). · Management Attitudes and behavior toward safety (especially Different dimensions of safety climate are related to work- among first-line supervisors) related driving and occupational incidents. Wills et al. (2006) Attitudes and behavior toward production measured six different safety climate factors and four aspects Employee selection of self-reported occupational driving. All of the safety climate Discipline. factors were correlated with self-reported driving incidents, · Safety system but some had more significant associations. Table 13 summa- Safety policies rizes the relationships. The large X's in Table 13 represent the Assigned responsibilities and areas of control safety climate factors that were the most significant predictors TABLE 13 SUMMARY OF SIGNIFICANT SAFETY CLIMATE FACTOR PREDICTORS Good Safety Overall Reduced Climate Driver Driving Reduced Traffic Reduced Driver Pre-Trip Factor Behavior Distraction Violations Error Maintenance Open x X x X X Communication Low Work x X x x x Pressures Strong x x x x x Relationships Clear Safety Rules X X X X x Effective Driver x X x x x Training Management x X x X x Commitment Source: Based on Wills et al. (2006).