P.S. Profit, Safety, and Culture

Usually P.S. is at the end of something and means "post script" as in something additional to say. In this case, "P" is for Profit and "S" is for Safety. What's the culture in your company? It cannot be one or the other. It must be both. No profits and you'll go out of business lickity-split. No safety and either the government will put you out of business or you'll be sued and end up going out of business.

The North American International Auto Show was this last week in Detroit. One of the stories from the show involved Secretary of Transportation Foxx meeting with the heads of 17 passenger car manufacturers. It was a record year for production and sales of passenger cars and light trucks. It's also been a record time for recalls. 17.5 million light-duty vehicles were sold in the USA in 2015 and substantially more than that number are being recalled for defects due to ignition switches, air bag inflators, and a host of items. The auto companies are being encouraged to share information between themselves, as well as sharing with the government sooner. Secretary Foxx is quoted as saying, "It's a bit of a cultural change and a different way of thinking." 

In another area, the Federal Railroad Administration is concerned about the merger of the Canadian Pacific Railway and Norfolk Southern companies. One issue is how do you combine the cultures of two companies. Obviously, mergers involve cutting costs, improving efficiency, and otherwise finding ways to provide a return for the money laid out for the purchase. Let safety be forgotten and one mishap can eclipse the savings in every other area.

Last week was also the annual National Transportation Safety Board meeting in Washington DC. NTSB released their list of the 10 most wanted safety items, as they do each year. Without the force of regulation, they use public opinion and the bully-pulpit to get people to pay attention. For trucking, the ones of significance are:

  • Reduce Fatigue Related Accidents
  • Promote Availability of Collision Avoidance technologies in Highway Vehicles
  • Strengthen Occupant Protection
  • Disconnect from Deadly Distractions
  • End Substance Impairment in Transportation
  • Require Medical Fitness for Duty
  • Expand Use of Recorders to Enhance Transportation Safety

This week is the SAE Government Industry meeting where I expect to hear about progress on safety of the environment from EPA, progress on regulations for transportation from NHTSA and FMCSA, and research from academia, and progress from the many companies producing products and services. 

I've not even touched on the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), municipal fire department inspections, and cybersecurity to protect all kinds of data.

P.S. Pay attention to safety or your profits will disappear along with your business.
 

TAGS: News
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