Hiring Logging Drivers

Topic: Forest Products
Date: March 30, 2020

Steve Barnett, Vice President and Forest Products Program Manager

Find the best drivers for your team

Hiring drivers for logging operations is hard. The industry-wide driver shortage combined with the unique skills needed to safely operate a logging truck as well as the remote work locations can make it hard to find the right person for your team.

These challenges may tempt you to hire the first person who walks through your front door.  This should be avoided at all cost, as it can result in accidents that lead to injuries or death and put your entire operation at risk.

By putting in place clear policies for your driver hiring process, you can establish safeguards to hire the best and most qualified driver for your team.

Issue a written application

First things first – when you’re hiring, always request a written application from all your applicants. This captures all the driver’s information in one spot and ensures it is on record.

An added bonus is that a written application collects information consistently and in a uniform manner from all applicants. This allows you to compare applicants’ credentials in an impartial manner.

Ask for and check references

Be sure to ask for at least three professional references from the applicant. When you’ve identified a promising candidate for the job, call all three of those references and talk to them about their experiences with the applicant.

Give the reference a bit of background about why you are calling. Tell them who you are, what company you work for and supply any other pertinent info. Then, ask any questions that relate to the job – focusing especially on the safety record. Remember: any questions about protected classes (race, age, sex, etc.) that are illegal to ask in an interview, are also off limits during a reference check, and may not be considered in a hiring decision.  

Look for experience

Due to the nature of driving a logging truck, hiring experienced drivers is a must. We recommend all logging drivers should have at least three years of prior logging experience.

Logging drivers are required to go remotely into the woods, often off-road, and manage a truck with a very tricky load. Someone who has never done this can quickly get overwhelmed, which can lead to potential accidents.

Use your network to identify drivers who’ve worked in the industry.

Implement a training program

Training your new employee is very important. We recommend the new employee rides along with the experienced driver who will educate the new employee about the routes, mill requirements and company policies. Then, the new employee should drive while the experienced employee rides along and provides constructive feedback, insights and confirms the new employee's ability to properly drive a log truck.

We also encourage companies to take advantage of industry resources that are available for training drivers. Team Safe Trucking is a great organization that provides many resources for driver training.

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For information purposes only. BITCO's blog content does not address all potential circumstances and is not a substitute for business, safety, or legal consultation.

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