Performance Thinking

Expert information and solutions for your business.

Safety Improvements For Petroleum Marketers

Petroleum Tanker Truck

Each year, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) releases a list of their “Most Wanted” safety improvements. The 2017-18 list includes several recommended improvements that are directly related to the work of petroleum marketers.

In my experience working with multiple petroleum marketers, I have seen the negative business impacts that a work-related accident or injury can create. Implementing these recommendations from the NTSB can improve your risk performance and, ultimately, your bottom line. 

Reduce fatigue-related accidents

•  Fatigue is a major problem for operators.   According to the NTSB, “Fatigue is both a symptom of poor sleep and health management and an enabler of risky behavior, such as poor judgment and decision making, slowed reaction times and loss of situational awareness and control.”

•  According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, more than 72,000 crashes involved drowsy drivers between 2009 and 2013.

•  Petroleum marketers should establish fatigue guidelines and operators need to be educated about the importance of adequate sleep.

Require medical fitness

•  Many of the common work-related injuries that petroleum operators experience – including those related to hose handling and entering/exiting tankers – can be intensified if the operator is not medically fit for the job.

•  Petroleum marketers can mitigate their risk by ensuring their operators are medically fit for all aspects of the job prior to duty. These efforts could include policies and procedures for routine medical examinations, as well as creating a culture that promotes self-reporting of medical conditions and/or injuries that might impact job performance.

End alcohol and other drug impairment

•  Alcohol and drug impairment is a major contributor to commercial transportation accidents. Increased use of prescription pain medications has led to an epidemic that drastically impacts costs.

•  Use of prescription drugs leads to a rise in workers’ compensation claims. Data from an NC-based petroleum hauling client shows that 45% of employees with a prescription for a certain class of pain medication had a workers’ compensation claim, compared to only 2% of those without a prescription.

•  Petroleum marketers should develop clear workplace policies related to drug and alcohol use, including determining the types of pre-employment drug tests to be used and when. Appropriate employee education can make a big impact.

Increase implementation of collision avoidance technologies

•  Many petroleum marketers have already embraced collision avoidance technology, but many have not.

•  Forward collision warning systems (FCWSs) and autonomous emergency braking (AEB) can help avoid rear-end crashes.

•  The NTSB recommends that commercial operators should proactively install, at a minimum, forward collision warning systems in their fleets.

These recommendations are a good starting point for petroleum marketers to improve their safety. However, I understand that petroleum marketers and their drivers/operators face many unique risks and a comprehensive view of their risk management should include much more than these safety improvements. If you are working in this industry, I’d love to talk to you about your needs and how I can help position your business for success.


Lisa will be attending The Really Big Expo in Myrtle Beach March 8-9, 2017. This is the premier regional expo for the convenience store/petroleum marketing industry. Let Lisa know that you if you’ll be in attendance and would like to schedule at time to meet!