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Safety Story at Star Leasing Co.

Star Leasing Co. is a regional semi-trailer rental, leasing, sales and maintenance provider that currently owns nearly 13,000 semi-trailers, has 230 plus employees (most of them mechanics) and operates 9 full-service facilities including their corporate headquarters in Columbus, Ohio.  Star has its beginnings rooted in the early 1980's when Ronald Reagan was President and deregulated the trucking industry.  The original founder & owner of Star Leasing saw an opportunity and began renting and leasing trailers in 1984 with an original fleet of less than 200 trailers.

Fast forward to 2003 when Star had one of it's many mobile service trucks involved in a head-on collision that included fatalities and permanently disabled their mobile service technician.  As a result of that crash, and subsequent medical bills, Star Leasing experienced skyrocketing workers compensation insurance premiums.  In an effort to control those costs going forward, Star initiated what is typically referred to as a "traditional safety process" in early 2004 and implemented safety training, required that safety committees be formed at all branch locations and initiated personal protective equipment (PPE) requirements for all of their associates.

A review of their safety process in late 2006 revealed that after nearly 3 years of implementing a safety program the number of associates who suffered an OSHA recordable injury actually increased year after year and their OSHA incident rate, a measure of how frequently employees are injured on the job, remained above 20 the entire time.  As a result of that realization, Star Leasing implemented a "Behavior Based" safety management process in early 2007 that has brought dramatic improvements to their safety performance. 

Behavior based safety requires an organization to commit to the principles of safety as a "corporate value" - something that must become part of the organization's culture.  Associates are held accountable for practicing safe work behaviors and are specifically trained to look out for their own safety, as well as the safety of those around them.  This last part is especially critical, since most employees in traditional safety programs do not feel empowered to address the unsafe behaviors of their peers.

As a result of this behavior based approach to safety management, Star has been able to reduce the number of OSHA injuries suffered by associates by over 30% for each of the past 3 years - from 44 in fiscal 2006 to less than 15 in fiscal 2009 that will end September 30th.  Similarly, the OSHA incident rate has gone from 20.7 at the end of fiscal 2006 to 6.3 today.

Star Leasing has not yet accomplished their vision for safety performance, which is achieving an OSHA incident rate of 3 or below by fiscal 2012.  However, their hard work and dedication towards preventing needless workplace injuries certainly seems to have them on the right path to realizing that dream!

Mike Hensley
VP Operations
Star Leasing Company
Columbus, OH



(Editor's Note:  Click on the link, Star Leasing Safety Slide Presentation, to view a slide presentation to support this story. 


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