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FMCSA’s Safety Management Cycle

Hover over each numbered point on the Safety Management Cycle graphic below to learn what that part of the cycle entails. Then use our 5 Why's worksheet (see below) to help determine the root cause of any problem areas and generate possible solutions to solve the problems.

Safety Management Cycle
Policies and Procedures Policies and Procedures: Operational rules and processes for a motor carrier and its employees.
Roles and Responsibilities Roles and Responsibilities: Identifying, clearly defining, and documenting roles & responsibilities of employees directly or indirectly involved with regulatory compliance & safety best practices, and assigning and reinforcing these continued responsibilities.
and Hiring Qualifications and Hiring: Finding and qualifying people for the defined roles and responsibilities.
Training and Communication Training and Communication: Ongoing process to ensure that a motor carrier and its employees have the proper skills and knowledge to complete their jobs.
and Tracking Monitoring and Tracking: Ensuring that a motor carrier and its employees are in compliance with policies and procedures and roles and responsibilities.
Action Meaningful Action: Providing positive reinforcement for, or aiming at improving or correcting, employee behavior.

Using the Safety Management Cycle

The Safety Management Cycle is a model that systematically assesses your company's safety management practices and makes improvements where necessary.

According to the FMCSA, safety can be achieved within your organization by putting this model in place. In fact, the agency trained 1000+ Federal and State Partner employees on this improved investigative process. The SMC moves beyond identifying what the safety violation is to why the safety performance issue is occurring so motor carriers can develop or refine policies, practices and operations to improve their safety performance.

Under the Safety Management Cycle, you develop processes that incorporate safety into every aspect of your operation. Because of this, use of the model may also improve your motor carrier's bottom line by:

  • Finding ineffective and wasteful procedures within your safety program;
  • Saving time and money on paying fines and responding to regulatory compliance issues; and
  • Reducing the financial cost of crashes.

You will need to go through each of the "spokes" on the Safety Management Cycle wheel to identify primary and secondary reasons for your safety breakdowns.

View FMCSA's Safety Management Cycle (SMC) Overview and SMCs by BASIC.

5 Why's Model for Determining Root Cause

Use our 5 Why's Worksheet to help determine the root cause of crashes and safety or compliance violations.

Check out these Sample Scenarios to see the 5 Why's Model in action: