6 Things Your Safety Documentation Needs to Succeed

How Reporting Reduces Insurance Costs and Litigation Risk for Transportation Firms

Are you ready for your next deposition? How about your next audit? No trucking company wants there to be a next deposition or audit. But you’ve got to prepare. What does your safety documentation need to succeed? Can you ensure it’s working for you at the critical moment?

Wearing Your Armor

Your business relies on reliable documentation. No matter how tough the situation, if you can prove you’ve done the right thing, it’s like wearing armor into battle. Without it, you’re literally going on a wing and a prayer.

Too often safety documentation is a chink in the armor. During a deposition, typically that’s what you’ll be asked for first: safety training documentation. If it’s not signed, dated, and complete, or you can’t find it, your safety and compliance efforts are non-existent in the eyes of the law. Because when it comes to DOT, OSHA, and the courtroom:

If it’s not signed, dated, or you can’t find it, it didn’t happen.

Fines, fees, court settlements, and lawsuits can leave you doling out tens of thousands to millions of dollars per year. 

And that’s just indirect costs. Indirect costs of losing a court case or doing poorly in an audit include:

  •  Higher insurance rates
  •  Getting flagged for additional audits
  •  Reputation as a high-risk company 
  •  Losing employees and clients
  •  “Unsatisfactory” rating shutting you down 
  •  “Conditional” rating giving you lots of extra work to do

Documentation can make or break a business. When confronted by an auditor or an attorney, this won’t make much of an impression:

  •  “It’s complicated running a business these days…”
  •  “Our drivers are hard to get hold of.”
  •  “We’ve had a tough year.”
  •  “We trained our drivers, but we’re having trouble pulling together the paperwork.”
  •  “I can’t show you our safety plan, but I promise we’ll do better.”

Only successful safety documentation will reliably protect you in the eyes of the law.

Your External Hard Drive

Think of safety documentation like an external hard drive to your valuable work computer. If the computer crashes, you’ve got a backup. When the unlooked-for occurs on the road, you’ve got a plan. It proves, in black and white, “I did the work.”

Look on any website for people looking to sue trucking companies, and you’ll realize how frequently trucking companies take shortcuts to their own detriment and don’t plan ahead. It’s hard to hear, but at this point, you could almost call this tendency common knowledge. That’s why proof of safety training and remediation is a good investigator’s first line of questioning. 

When you cut corners with safety, you’re not giving yourself much of a chance in the case of accidents, audits, and suits. But if you are working to improve, doing due diligence, and backing up your work with a reliable system, you’re on your way.

6 Things Safety Documentation Needs to Succeed

So what makes a safety documentation system reliable? 

1 – Consistency

Don’t put up with costly chinks in the armor. Successful safety documentation closes the gaps with a consistent system of signing, dating, filing, and retrieval. The method you use needs to work, and it needs to stay the same. You need to be able to collect 100% of the documents you need from 100% of drivers. This can be hard to do unless you go paperless

2 – Accuracy

Are the correct documents time-stamped for the right people? Can you easily decipher what’s written? You need to be positive that what you’re seeing is accurate, no matter other variables.  None of these should EVER affect the accuracy of documentation: 

  •  Handwriting
  •  How tidy or messy your office is
  •  Driver, dispatcher, or office employee turnover
  •  Whether you’re understaffed
  •  Honesty of drivers, dispatchers, or employees
  •  Leadership change

3 – Details, details

What time of day did Driver X complete the remediation series? What training did you send out on March 23, 2019? What topics did you include in every training on distracted driving you required between January and June? Can you answer questions like that for every driver and every training? You will face these kinds of questions.

4 – Integrity

Documents can’t be easily edited, changed, or created. This is pure accountability. If a lawyer can show that it’s possible to add to records, change scores, etc. in your system, no matter how honest you may know people to be, it’s a chink in the armor. They’ve got to be stored securely, so not even you can modify them.

5 – Accessibility

You’ve got all your paperwork. To the best of your knowledge, it’s accurate and secure. Now, do you know where it is? The key is secure and accessible. Documentation won’t do you much good if you can’t find it, or can only find part of it! It also needs to be easy to sort through and easy to read. 

6 – Retrievability

Finally, can you get to it quickly? An online, cloud-based training and documentation system can provide security, accessibility, and retrievability. Push a few buttons, and you have what OSHA, DOT, or the lawyers need in their hand. 

At Infinit-I Workforce Solutions, we believe in making life simple and safe. That is why we’ve developed a paperless safety documentation system tied with your safety training program. 

Once a training session is complete, it is: 

  •  Automatically dated
  •  Timestamped to the minute and second
  •  Held on a secure, 3rd-party server
  •  Part of an accessible, easy-to-read database

Every training you send — recorded. Every completed training — recorded. You will also see every training missed or refused. 

Our safety documentation is admissible in court and has helped our clients reduce fines and fees, impress at depositions, change CSA scores, and avoid the courtroom altogether. We are building an industry reputation. Research, real-world experience, and a world-class Client Success Team support our system.

Download our free whitepaper to learn more about how we’re building training partnerships, more secure businesses, and a stronger culture of safety in trucking.