On the Road to Safety
Whether you are commuting to and from your job or spending a majority of your work hours in a vehicle, road safety should not be overlooked. Workers across all industries are susceptible to driving hazards: oil and gas workers with long hours and commutes; first responders who drive emergency vehicles; and sales employees who cover a lot of territory on the road. Let’s explore why safe driving should be among the top focuses of your company’s safety program.
Your employees are one of your most important assets. You take several measures to keep them safe while at work, and this should extend to their time on the road. When a worker is injured in a vehicle accident, they may be limited in terms of job responsibilities. They may even be off the job for an extended period of time. In this scenario, productivity goes down and you may need to hire temporary staff.
Insurance claims and costs are also associated with driving accidents. By promoting safe driving and providing training, businesses can help reduce the risk of accidents and high costs of insurance premiums and repair bills. Decreasing the number of workers’ compensation claims means that you’re in a better position to control liability costs associated with work-related vehicle crashes.
For workers who drive company vehicles, public perception is also at risk. Think of a furniture delivery business. If their truck driver isn’t obeying traffic laws, everyone on the road is quick to associate your company name on the vehicle with reckless behavior. It is in your best interest to protect your brand reputation.
Make sure your employees know you are serious about safe driving practices by keeping the topic front and center. Sometimes it can be hard to know where to begin. Try to divvy up topics per week or month. Here are some ideas to get you started:
- Drowsy driving
- Distracted driving
- Distance and drive times
There are several ways to deliver your safety message. Depending on the size of your team and the industry you’re in, a combination of these solutions can shine a spotlight on the initiative and spark conversation.
- Safety training – Establish an employee driver safety program and require new hires to complete the training within the first couple weeks on the job. Develop a refresher course that employees can take each year to emphasize ongoing awareness.
- Safety fair – This doesn’t have to be as elaborate as it sounds. Once a quarter, pull together resources, stats and FAQs and present them in a conference room. Invite a subject matter expert to speak on a specific topic.
- Strategic routes – If your company is in sales or deliveries, try to maximize driver routes and minimize travel times. Also, if at all possible, avoiding highway rush hours may reduce the chances of vehicle accidents.
- Safe driving habits – Educate employees on the dangers of distracted driving, offer alternatives to multitasking and encourage the use of seatbelts. Also, share tips for helping employees determine if they are too tired to drive.
- Motorist kits – Because accidents do happen, equip your employees with a fully stocked, compliant motorist first aid kit.
- Company-wide best practices – Develop policies and procedures for traveling employees. Define consequences for speeding and cell phone use. In Canada, all provinces and territories (except Nunavut) have legislation which specifically bans or restricts using hand-held cellular phones or other similar devices while driving.
- Vehicle safety – When choosing fleet vehicles, consider purchasing those with advanced safety features such as automatic emergency braking, back-up cameras and lane departure warnings.
- Weather conditions – Each season brings its own driving hazards. Communicate ways to handle extreme weather conditions while on the road.
Drive it Home
With more and more people on the road, it is imperative to encourage and practice safe driving habits. By creating awareness, policies and training, you are taking positive steps to change unsafe behaviors and keep your community safe.
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