East Tennessee Safety/Maintenance Management Council
Our East Tennessee Safety/Maintenance Council has bi-monthly meetings to discuss topics of interest and concern for safety and maintenance professionals.
Virtual Meeting 6/3/2020
The East TN Council was happy to have our first virtual Zoom meeting, on 6/3/2020, in replacement of our typical in-person meetings to practice safety and social distancing during COVID-19. There were 27 members and guests in attendance.
This month’s meeting was a Panel Discussion on Back to Work Strategies, Onboarding New Drivers, Recruiting Efforts and New Hour of Service Rules and what they mean to us. Moderator, Donna England, TTA, Panelist, Dave Huneryager, TTA, Grady Phillips, CMS and Jeremy Reymer, DriverReach, and Debbie Davis, Pemberton Truck Lines.
We kicked off by discussing the importance of the Economic Recovery Group, that Dave Huneryager is a member of, and the toolkit the group provides to help as a guideline to businesses during COVID-19. The Economic Recovery Group is working diligently to reopen our state safely. As the meeting went on, you can see some of the key takeaways below.
Grady Phillips says the most important thing to do as a company or manager, is have a written policy in place for COVID-19. Social distance, remote work as much as possible, and keep surfaces clean. Employees in the office, ensure to keep your safe distance and wash your hands. Grady also advises wearing masks as it stops you from spreading the virus through water droplets.
Jeremy went on to discuss what we are seeing in driver shortages and how the silver lining through COVID-19 is that drivers are heroes and this is encouraging for drivers to be recognized as such an essential role. He says that has a potential for people to want to get involved in the trucking industry after the threat of COVID-19 is behind us and the economic challenges we are currently facing diminishes. He finishes by discussing interviews for companies. He states if anyone could avoid in-person interviews, he definitely would. Using Zoom and other platforms such as this, you are able to read body language and the conversation well. The technology that is available is far more efficient and definitely the safer option than in-person interviews and should be utilized.
Lastly, Debbie recited the changes her company is facing as a result of COVID-19. She said in about one week, they put 8 people through orientation. They do online training, an increased amount of cleaning in-house, practice social distancing, and provide had sanitizer stations.
Other topics covered included pre-screening of employees, the rise in TN crash fatalities and the Crash, viewpoints on team driving during COVID-19, FMCSA drug and alcohol clearinghouse, and DOT physicals. The East TN Council was pleased to still be able to carry on our meetings among this pandemic and look forward to our future meetings and discussions.
Zach Ragsdale – TTA ETN SMC Chairperson
Sunny Jameson -Vice Chair
Angela Corbett – Secretary