Motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of injuries and death in the workplace. The injuries from vehicle crashes extend a worker’s recovery time by thirty percent compared to other workplace injuries. With these facts in mind, businesses should be more aware of the dangers of driving. However, a study by the Road Safety at Work Program found that only eleven percent of employers believed driving was dangerous, and most employee drivers did not rate driving as hazardous. Therefore, it’s critical to recognize the dangers of driving and the importance of creating a road safety plan to keep workers safe on the road.
Preventing Work-related Vehicle Deaths and Injuries
A thorough driver safety plan can help curve workplace deaths and injuries. A road safety plan can be as simple as a template, workshop, webinar, or toolkit that walks employers and employees through what to do, step-by-step, and when to enact those steps.
Besides having a generalized driver safety plan, there are other ways to prevent car accidents in the workplace.
Traumatic deaths and injuries caused by crashes can be prevented through:
- Proactive planning
- Vehicle maintenance
Employers are accountable for ensuring employee safety while driving, whether an employee is driving a personal or work vehicle for work purposes. An extensive driver safety plan can:
- Keep insurance premiums low
- Reduce time off due to injury
- Inhibit vehicle repairs and replacement of damaged parts, and
- Prevent personal and societal costs of pain, loss, and mental trauma.
Companies should avoid skimping on vehicle training during orientation and routine maintenance. Teaching the rules of the road, maintaining vehicles, and following up on vehicle collisions can help employees feel more confident and comfortable behind the wheel. Below are some ways employers can keep workers safe on the road through training and vehicle maintenance.
- Mentors join new employees in the vehicle for the first two weeks.
- Employees read formal driving safety policies quarterly.
- Employers establish a no distracted driver policy (no cellphones behind the wheel).
- Keep a routine vehicle maintenance schedule to reduce breakdowns and crashes, ensuring employees are involved in the process.
- Have a well-established reporting process and incident follow-up system.
Educating workers on driver safety is the foundation of road safety. Before a worker sits in the driver’s seat, companies should require drivers to undergo a driver onboarding process. During this onboarding phase, employers can show a real example of what to do or not do when driving by using dashcam footage. Live footage is a great way employers can go above and beyond in educating employees on driver safety.
Increasing Safe Driving Through the Use of Digital Tools
GPS-driven telemetry and dash cams are being used more often in the workplace, and for a good reason. They gather real-time data and are great for training employees about near-miss incidents or crashes that can be prevented in the future. For example, some artificial intelligence (AI) dashcams alert drivers with a sound when they exceed the speed limit or if they engage in unsafe driving behavior.
Technological devices in work vehicles don’t have to be viewed as a punishment or negative reinforcement to drive safely. For example, some employers have created a reward system where employees receive a bonus on their paychecks for zero incidents, speeding tickets, or damage to vehicles. In many companies, these digital tools and positive reinforcement have lowered vehicle damage and incidents by eighty percent since their initiation.
10 Road Safety Tips
The Road Safety at Work program lists ten ways employers can help keep employees safe on the road.
- Understand your responsibilities to all drivers in the company.
- Show leadership commitment.
- Initiate and keep a line of communication open with employees.
- Identify driving hazards, assess risks, and introduce safety measures.
- Create road safety policies and procedures.
- Develop driver criteria and a regular driver review.
- Have a routine vehicle maintenance schedule and process.
- Adopt an incident-management strategy and an effective follow-up system.
- Figure out the delivery, monitoring, and administration of your road safety plan or program.
- Evaluate the road safety plan or program regularly and make improvements when necessary.
Creating a Culture of Safe Drivers in the Workplace
Keeping workers safe on the road is not a one-person job. It’s the duty of the employer to create a road safety program and educate and train employees to their best ability. Effective road safety programs, education, and training produce confident drivers and prevent vehicle collisions, lowering traumatic deaths and injuries in the workplace. Encourage safe driving in your company using AI dash cams and other digital tools. Engage and communicate with employees and work closely with them through driver orientation and vehicle maintenance. Safe driving culture is formed by the leadership of its employers.
Ripplinger, S., Keeping Your Workers Safe on the Road
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