Making personal phone usage safer for a large welding supply company

Established in 1941, Welsco, Inc. has been the premier Welding Supply and Industrial Gas Supplier across the southern US market. With a fleet of over 100 passenger and commercial vehicles, Welsco offers its customers a full line of welding supplies, including cylinder gases, speciality gases, welding and cutting products, and cryogenic liquids.

Overview

Welsco operates under the philosophy that the greatest asset to their business is their team of employees. Ensuring the safety of those employees, however, while also respecting their work-life balance and privacy was becoming a bit of a challenge with the advent of mobile devices on the job. “We were seeing a climb in accident claims and it seemed to correlate with the adoption of smartphones by our employees,” said Adam Kohler, Chief Operating Officer at Welsco. Kohler, a 12-year veteran of the company, noted the impact of distracted driving to the business was a double-digit average accident rate each year and claims as high as $100,000 or higher.

Reducing the accident rate and associated claims expense was a top priority. Kohler was looking for a solution that would also provide insights into what was happening in the field, to facilitate corrective action. “We had a series of accidents and didn’t believe the stories we were being told. We needed a clearer picture of what was going on.” And, whatever solution was deployed, Kohler knew they needed to have the buy-in of their team.

Challenges

Reducing claim rates and expense

Garnering actionable insights about driving incidents

Ensuring employee buy in of a solution

Solution

Welsco implemented TRUCE™ in combination with in-vehicle cameras to eliminate mobile device distractions and reinforce safe driving behaviour across their workforce.

“In some ways, TRUCE actually makes us better. By not being on our phones, we are able to stay focused on what we’re doing and serving our customers.”

Adam Kohler
Chief Operating Officer, Welsco, Inc.

TRUCE complements in-vehicle cameras for guaranteed policy enforcement

To better manage their claims expense, Kohler directed Welsco to a captive insurance group. He attended a best-practices meeting of the captive insurance company and listened to testimonials from other companies looking to manage their claims experience. The testimonials revealed measurable success following the deployment of either an in-vehicle camera system or TRUCE. That feedback set things in motion for Kohler who decided to implement both solutions to help drive down distracted driving claims and gather insight for behavioural coaching for his employees.

When it came time to roll out the new programme, Kohler scheduled a meeting with all the drivers. “I expected a coup! After all, we were asking our employees to load software on their personal phones,” explained Kohler. After describing the impacts the business had been experiencing from distracted driving – risks to their health and safety and the cost of accident claims – there was a general consensus from the team that the approach made sense. To help ensure ongoing buy-in from their team, Kohler said the company provides a nominal monthly stipend for each employee if the TRUCE Mobile App is on their device. “It’s worth a little more to get buy-in,” said Kohler.

Kohler stated that both he and the owner have TRUCE deployed on their mobile devices. “We believe in it for ourselves too. It’s hard not to look at your phone all day, but now with TRUCE, my phone stays in my pocket and I don’t even think about it anymore.”

After deploying the in-vehicle cameras and TRUCE, vehicle accident claims at Welsco dropped significantly. The usual double-digit accident rate dropped to just 3 accidents in 2018 and the average $100,000+ in claims expense dropped to roughly $11,000. The combination of the camera and TRUCE gives Kohler the confidence to know that their mobile usage policies are being enforced and the documentation to coach on behaviour where necessary. “We had an incident in which one of our drivers had to take a ditch and rolled his truck in order to avoid rear-ending a stopped vehicle without brake lights. A witness said that our driver had been on his phone at the time of the accident. But we knew that couldn’t possibly be true – we had TRUCE,” stated Kohler. The in-vehicle camera confirmed that the driver was not on his phone and that he was being an attentive driver.

Benefits

Reliable policy enforcement

Accident rates dropped more than 70%

Claims expense reduced more than 90%

The Right Technology to Limit Risk

With TRUCE deployed across the company, Welsco reduced preventable accidents and reduced the corresponding claims expense impacting their bottom line. More importantly, they achieved 100% buy-in from their employee base along the way. “We are just trying to make sure our people get home safely, as well as all the other people on the road,” said Kohler.

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