Our people are UPS’s most important asset. Which is why ensuring their health, wellness and safety is engrained in our culture – and it is also a key part of our new goals and KPIs. Two are focused on employee safety with targets for the year 2020:
- A one percent improvement to our industry-leading Lost Time Injury Frequency, and to seek fewer injuries per every 200,000 hours worked.
- A three percent improvement to our low auto accident frequency, the number of auto accidents per 100,000 driver hours.
Smart Technology for a Safer Workforce
We invest millions of dollars in health and safety training every year, including over $209 million on safety training courses (22% of total training spend) and UPSers spent more than 5.8 million hours (37% of total training time) in training classes. Formal training is supplemented with mentoring programs that enable employees to learn from others with more experience. Our employees with exceptional safety records are recognized and encourage others to strive for the same high standards. All of this effort is to ensure that UPSers to make it home safely – their most important stop of the day.
To improve the health and safety of employees, UPS developed the Comprehensive Health and Safety Process (CHSP) in 1995. Now there are more than 3,450 CHSP committees at UPS facilities around the world. They conduct facility and equipment audits, lead training programs, perform work practice and behavior analysis and recommend process and equipment changes.
Based on driver and package handler suggestions, facility and equipment improvements have also been made so it is less tedious to move 5.1 billion packages a year. Examples of these improvements are designing ergonomic handheld computers for drivers and changing the layout of new buildings.
Tom Camp Circle of Honor Video
In addition to health and wellness, road safety is an important part of how we operate every day at UPS. Driving can be a dangerous task if distractions arise, so our drivers are trained to stay focused no matter what is happening around them.
Our 10,504 Circle of Honor members are proof that the system is working. Each of them has driven for 25 years or more without an avoidable auto accident, and together they’ve logged have logged 14 billion miles of safe driving, enough miles to circle the earth at the equator 562,000 times. The 1,582 members inducted in 2017 consider it an honor to help make the streets safer for everyone around them. The number of active Circle of Honor drivers is the most in company history and includes 83 new members from Canada, U.K., France, Germany, and the Netherlands.
For many drivers, 25 years is just the beginning. Of all Circle of Honor members, 739 have been accident-free for 35 or more years, with 126 of those having driven more than 40 years without an accident. Thirteen drivers have eclipsed the 45-year safe driving mark. UPS’s longest-tenured safe driver in 2017 is Livonia, Michigan package car driver Thomas Camp, who has now driven for more than half a century – 55 years – and delivered more than 5 million packages without an accident.
UPS drivers are also being recognized by external industry organizations. The National Safety Council presents the Joseph M. Kaplan Safe Driver of the Year award for each of its 11 regions throughout the U.S. and Canada to recognize drivers who have driven a significant number of years or miles without a preventable accident. In 2017, eight out of the 11 awards went to UPS drivers, selected from 124 UPS nominations. In addition, 26 UPS drivers competed at the 2017 National Truck Driving Championship, where three placed third in the step van, straight truck, and flatbed driving categories.
How do UPSers get to be so safe? A whole lot of training. In 2017, we invested more than $967 million on training, 22% of which went to safety courses. Many of these industry-leading courses are taught by certified management trainers on an annual and periodic basis.
For example, UPS tractor-trailer drivers receive 80 hours of computer-based and on-road training before operating equipment. UPS pilots receive robust training upon hire, as well as recurrent training every year. And our package car drivers receive hours of classroom and on-road training to ensure they master UPS’s safe driving methods in theory and in practice.
Advanced Technologies that Keep UPSers Safe
Today, technology investments are making the safety and efficiency of our drivers even more effective, helping us create a work environment that better protects our employees and adapts to a changing business environment.
One of our most innovative training experiences is UPS Integrad™ training centers, which provide drivers with experiential training modeled on the philosophy of “teach me, show me, let me.” The program uses a mixture of 3-D computer simulations, webcast learning modules, and traditional classroom instruction to complement hands-on safety, delivery, and customer service training in a controlled environment. UPS Integrad curriculum has raised the bar on training, delivering significant improvements in safety, customer experience, and retention compared to traditional programs.
In 2017, we took our innovation to the next level by incorporating virtual reality (VR) into the UPS Integrad experience. At nine facilities across the U.S., VR is allowing participants to practice defensive driving techniques by moving their eyes through the driving scene to recognize priority elements and to spot hazards they may encounter as they drive. Wearing VR headsets with 360-degree visuals, trainees must verbally identify road hazards. The headsets are an upgrade from touchscreen devices used in the past. While VR is currently being used only for training package car drivers, we’re exploring virtual and augmented reality tools for performing other duties throughout our operations.
It’s not just our drivers who are becoming more knowledgeable. Our vehicles are becoming smarter — and safer — too. In 2017, we upgraded more than 5,700 of our existing Class 8 tractors with advanced collision mitigation technology, which alerts drivers to moving and stationary objects in front of the tractor and moving objects surrounding the vehicle. The technology includes alerts for blind spots and lane departures, electronic stability control, and forward collision warning with automatic brake application. This investment brings more than 60 percent of our Class 8 tractor fleet, or 11,000 vehicles, to the leading edge of safety technology.
Creating an injury-free workplace requires the right training, technology, and data, all working in tandem to reduce the likelihood of injuries and crashes. By using the best available technology to reduce risk at every step, we’re helping more people get home safely to their families.
A Proud UPS Integrad Graduate
Our drivers are among the best in the industry, with UPSers receiving eight of the 11 possible Safe Driver of the Year awards from the National Safety Council in 2017. Drivers sharpen their skills at UPS Integrad training centers, which provide drivers and their direct supervisors with experiential, hands-on preparation that reinforces and builds on classroom lessons. Robert DeJesus began his UPS career as a driver helper in 2016, then joined as a full-time driver in 2017. He credits what he learned at Integrad with his success. The program helped Robert improve performance metrics and empowered him to take a leadership role in the Comprehensive Health and Safety Process Committee at his center. “I’m so proud to put on my uniform every day,” Robert says. “It reminds me about the importance of making safe and smart decisions at every turn.”