“Every 12 minutes someone dies in a motor vehicle crash, every 10 seconds an injury occurs and every 5 seconds a crash occurs. Many of these incidents occur during the workday or during the commute to and from work. Employers bear the cost for injuries that occur both on and off the job. Whether you manage a fleet of vehicles, oversee a mobile sales force or simply employ commuters, by implementing a driver safety program in the workplace you can greatly reduce the risks faced by your employees and their families while protecting your company’s bottom line.”
In an effort to reduce work-related motor vehicle injuries and deaths, OSHA in conjunction with several other organizations developed some guidelines for employers to build a driver safety program. Keep in mind, these are just guidelines; they do not represent any standards or regulations.
10-Steps to a Driver Safety Program
(These steps are from the NETS Traffic Safety Primer: A Guidebook for Employers.}
Step 1: Senior Management Commitment and Employee Involvement. As with all safety programs, it is critical to obtain the commitment of your senior leadership and through all levels of employees. Senior management’s involvement and leadership shows employees the importance of the program and encourages employee participation.
Step 2: Written Policies and Procedures. Be sure you have a clear, comprehensive and enforceable set of traffic safety policies that are communicated to employees in several ways – providing copies to every employee, posting in break rooms, discussing at team or company meetings.
An example from OSHA on a potential “Seat Belt Use Policy.”
(Name of Company/Organization) recognizes that seat belts are extremely effective in preventing injuries and loss of life. It is a fact that wearing your seat belt can reduce your risk of dying in a traffic crash by 45 percent in a car and by as much as 60 percent in a truck or SUV.
We want to make sure that no one is injured or killed in a tragedy that could have been prevented by the use of seat belts. Therefore, all employees of (Name of Company/Organization) must wear seat belts when operating a company-owned vehicle, or any vehicle on company premises or on company business; and all occupants are to wear seat when riding in a company-owned vehicle, or in a personal vehicle being used for company business.
Step 3: Driver Agreements. Have all employees who drive for work purposes, whether they drive assigned company vehicles or drive their personal vehicles, sign an agreement in which the driver acknowledges awareness and understanding of the organization’s traffic safety policies, procedures, and expectations regarding driver performance, vehicle maintenance and reporting of moving violations.
Step 4: Motor Vehicle Record (MVR) Checks. Check the driving records of all employees who drive for work purposes. Screen out those with poor driving records and review the MVR on a periodic basis to make sure drivers are maintaining a good driving record. Clearly define the number of acceptable violations an employee/driver can have and provide training when needed.
Step 5: Crash Reporting and Investigation. Establish and enforce a crash reporting and investigation process. All crashes, regardless of severity, should be reported as soon as feasible after the incident. The policies established in Step 2 should clearly guide drivers through their responsibilities in a crash situation.
Step 6: Vehicle Selection, Maintenance and Inspection. Selecting, properly maintaining and routinely inspecting company vehicles is an important part of preventing crashes. Consider what safety features company vehicles need, keeping in mind best of class status and overall safety. Make sure that all vehicles are subject to a routine preventive maintenance schedule for servicing and checking of safety-related equipment.
Step 7: Disciplinary Action System. Set up corrective action programs and ensure employees understand what will happen after a moving violation and/or preventable crash occurs. The program should address repeated violations and describe specific actions that will be taken.
Step 8: Reward/Incentive Program. Set up a reward and/or incentive program to make safe driving part of your business culture.
Step 9: Driver Training/Communication. Provide continuous driver safety training and communication, even for experienced drivers.
Step 10: Regulatory Compliance. Ensure adherence to highway safety regulations. It is important to clearly establish which, if any, local, state, and/or federal regulations govern your vehicles and/or drivers. These regulations may involve, but may not necessarily be limited to the:
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA)
U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT)
National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA)
Federal Highway Administration (FHWA)
Employment Standards Administration (ESA)
Keeping Employees Safe on the Road
The average crash costs an employer $16,500. When a worker has an on-the-job crash that results in an injury, the cost to their employer is $74,000. Costs can exceed $500,000 when a fatality is involved. Off-the-job crashes are costly to employers as well.
People, the human capital in your business, are your most valuable assets. Keeping employees safe whether in an office or on the road is the foundation of your business. Having a safe driving program is a win-win for the company and its employees.
Keep in mind, according to OSHA, parking lots are part of an employer’s premises. This means that if an employee has a recordable injury during work hours on the company parking lot, the incident is considered work-related and a recordable event.