With one of the nation’s largest private trucking fleets, CHS Transportation and Distribution (Automated Fuel Delivery, AFD), delivers products such as refined fuel, propane, lubricants, crude oil, ethanol and anhydrous ammonia to customers across 18 states, logging nearly 35 million miles annually. This division makes thousands of deliveries every month to ensure farmers and owners have the products they need when they need them.
Making these deliveries every day are nearly 600 company drivers, many who do their jobs in extreme weather conditions and in remote, rural areas. Keeping these drivers and the customers they serve safe is a core value for CHS Transportation and Distribution.
“We live and breathe safety. It’s our core focus,” says Sabah Kimyon, director of AFD. “When measuring our success, we look at our safety measures before anything else.”
CHS Transportation operates as a common carrier and is regulated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration through the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT). The agency sets requirements and monitors compliance through a number of channels, including data analysis and scorecard reporting.
One example is a carrier’s DOT Reportable Accident Ratio, which measures the number of accidents divided by every million miles driven. CHS currently has a ratio of 0.44 for this year. “This score translates to CHS having less than one accident recorded for every 2 million miles driven,” says Doug Swanger, director of operations for CHS Transportation.
Another important piece of DOT data is the Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) ranking, which measures carriers against their peer group or carrier type. CHS Transportation is in the top 2 percentile, meaning that CHS operates with fewer recordable accidents than 98 percent of other bulk tank transportation providers. “Our impressive CSA scores are a testament to our drivers and workforce. These measures are impressive when considering the areas our drivers traverse daily while picking up, loading and unloading their hazardous bulk transfer products,” says Swanger. “Many of the routes they must take to serve the rural cooperatives are two-lane country roads, which creates an additional risk potential for incidents that requires the drivers’ attention and vigilance.”
The impressive safety standing is due to a strong safety culture. “We talk safety every day,” says Kimyon. “We encourage our drivers to report every incident and are in constant communication about new policies.”
In addition to regularly scheduled safety meetings, CHS Transportation and Distribution also boasts driver-run safety committees, representing drivers from across different regions. “We encourage our drivers to take safety into their own hands. They’re the ones in the field who have the biggest impact on keeping themselves, our customers and other drivers safe,” says Swanger.
“Our drivers keep us informed on what they’re seeing in the field and they report everything,” says Kimyon. “We have intentionally created a safety-first environment to keep our employees safe.”