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Whether we’re transporting building materials, grading a surface or just traveling from one job site to another, a well-managed fleet is essential to any contractor. The risks associated with construction fleets are not insignificant, with risks inherent to both the operator and the vehicle itself, and others on the road.

It’s impossible to eliminate the risks of operating a fleet, but contractors can successfully reduce the risks through effective fleet management.

Hitting the Road

First things first. There are five things you absolutely must have in place to run an effective fleet safety program:

  1. Hire a dedicated fleet manager. If fleet safety is everybody’s responsibility (which sounds really nice), it’s actually nobody’s responsibility. Having a fleet safety manager in place, preferably reporting to the CFO or Risk Manager, will help ensure the program is actively managed and receives the priority it demands. When fleet safety is shown to be a top priority for senior management, others in the organization are more likely to pay attention.
  2. Invest in technology. One of the best ways to keep track of vehicle and operator safety is through telematics or an onboard safety platform.
  3. Write it down. There’s a saying that goes: “That which gets measured gets done.” And that is very true with fleet safety programs. Develop a written plan with very clear objectives. Then be sure to update those objectives regularly and communicate them.
  4. Focus on the driver. Make sure you have a selection process in place before you put employees behind the wheel of a fleet vehicle.
  5. Train and monitor. If you want your employees to behave in a certain way to reduce risks, you must provide them with the appropriate training, so they understand clearly what is expected of them. You also must monitor them to ensure they understand and apply the training you’re providing.

For more best practices for developing a fleet safety program, download AXA XL’s Construction Engineers’ latest white paper – Your driving force: A look at best practices for starting a construction fleet safety program.


About the Authors
James Stengel, Construction Risk Engineer, can be reached at, and Brian Lordson, Excess Casualty Underwriter, Construction at

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