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Achievements of a Safety Supervisor in Truck Units

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Many men have carved out a job in the trucking industry that was virtually unknown twenty-five years ago but that today has many opportunities for solid achievement and personal progress and satisfaction. The best become real "pros" and candidates for higher places in management.

What Does the Safety Supervisor Do?

The safety supervisor, working under the direction of a fleet's director of safety, is responsible for carrying out various activities and programs to prevent personal injuries and vehicle accidents. He utilizes every practical means of prevention through developing and directing the many educational and other programs at all levels of a fleet's operations.

Here are his major duties and responsibilities:

  1. Investigates accidents in assigned area to determine extent of injuries and/or damage, cause, and responsibility and takes, or recommends, corrective action as required.

  2. (2) Supervises drivers on the road and at rest stops and checks for infractions of safety rules and laws.

  3. Constantly reviews drivers to determine need for training or retraining.

  4. Frequently inspects terminal and shop facilities and equipment, work practices, freight-handling methods, and hazardous freight precautions and takes appropriate action to prevent personal injuries and/or freight damage.

  5. Assists line management in selecting, indoctrinating, and training of drivers including follow-up to develop safety consciousness and safe work habits.

  6. Assists line management in conducting safety meetings and distribute awards, notices, and literature.

  7. Develops and maintains complete file of safety records and periodically audits drivers' logs and trip reports to assure compliance with DOT regulations.

  8. Works with insurance representatives on inspections and investigations to protect company's interest.

  9. Makes route surveys as requested and recommends minimum driving times.

  10. Handles special assignments as directed by superior.

  11. Checks and inventories tire banks and also checks on public garages where line units are repaired. Recommends changing or setting up of new banks and garages or fuel stops.
How Much Experience and Training is Required?

As you can see, with his wide range of duties and responsibilities, the safety supervisor must be a man who has had at least five years' experience in the motor transportation industry and personal knowledge through special training and having done it himself of all of the jobs and operations he is assigned to supervise.

For example, he must have had sufficient service and experience as a top-notch commercial truck or bus driver to know the problems that face the drivers under his supervision. He must have firsthand knowledge of the proved practices of defensive driving and of emergency actions that keep a driver out of trouble on the road. He is best when he has had previous experience both as a truck driver and as a driver-trainer. Service in those jobs helps him because so much of his work involves selecting, indoctrinating, and training drivers, including regular and frequent contact with them to make them think and act safety at all times and develop no-fail, safe working habits.

If he has been a good driver-trainer or if he has had previous teaching experience, this serves him in good stead because a big part of his job involves appearances before groups of drivers at safety and other training types of meetings.

The fleet supervisor must also be a man of firmness and confidence, but particularly skilled in getting men to cooperate.

Not only must he be a good example to the line supervisors under his direction and to the drivers, but he must also be a good teacher.

The safety supervisor has constant contact and interchange with the director of safety and other management men. He must keep abreast of company policies and any changes in operating and business procedures so that he can impart them in the proper fashion to the line supervisors and drivers under his direction.

How the Fleet Supervisor Receives Special Training

Throughout the country, at regular intervals, a number of universities offer a fleet supervisor training course under the sponsorship of the National Committee for Motor Fleet Supervisor Training. Broadly, the courses cover six areas of instruction applicable to all types and sizes of motor fleets: the Fleet Safety Program, Driver Selection, Driver Training, Supervision, Records, and Regulatory Control.

You can see, through a review of topics in the course, how they help a man prepare himself to meet the test of the principal duties and responsibilities.


Top rewards come to the man who properly prepares himself for this important job and who grows upward to it through other jobs in a fleet.

He is largely responsible when the boss announces an ever lowering accident experience in spite of more vehicles, more drivers, and more mileage. He can get great satisfaction (and sometimes higher pay) when the boss announces that the insurance costs have again been lowered because of improved performance of drivers.

His beginning salary could be in the neighborhood of $9000 to $10,000, and this can increase through successive raises to between $14,000 and $15,000.

You can be a great safety supervisor if you have an interest in people and a liking for them (because as fleet supervisor you will be constantly involved in their problems); if you have a low boiling point and emotional stability to adjust to various personalities and situations; if you have enough confidence in yourself so that you can take needed constructive action without hesitation; and if you can understand the reactions and attitudes of others but avoid letting sympathy affect your firmness.
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