Unless you work in the transportation industry, you probably rarely think about the safety of employees when they are driving. But considering a car crash occurs about every 5 seconds, countless companies are finally realizing that focusing on the safety of their workers on the road is actually pretty crucial. And although a huge chunk of these occurs to and from work, and not just on the clock, employers are seeing surprising benefits to their bottom line after implementing safe driving programs.
Promoting Safe Driving Saves Employers Money
For a lot of companies, the last thing they want to do is waste time and resources developing safety plans for accidents that happen outside of the workplace. However, car accidents cost employers more than you could imagine.
The cost of employee motor vehicle crashes according to OSHA:
- Car crashes cost employers $60 billion a year from lost productivity, medical care, legal costs and property damage
- Costs of benefits rise (such as workers’ compensation, social security, and private health and disability insurance)
- An average crash costs an organization $16,500
- The average cost of an on-the-job crash resulting in an injury is $74,000 for employers
- Indirect costs such as administrative costs, supervisors time, overtime pay (to employees that cover injured employees), bad publicity for the company leading to loss of business
How to Bring Auto Safety to Your Workplace
Employers need to begin using driver safety programs to reduce injury or death to employees in their workforce, to protect the organization’s financial and human resources, and to ultimately avoid potential liabilities to their company. Huge brands such as Nationwide Insurance and General Motors have been using their own safe driving programs for decades, but now smaller companies are seeing meaningful impact from developing these safety measures.
So how does an employer begin promoting safe driving at their organization?
Although many employers have departments that create unique driving safety programs, these 10 steps out of the NETS Traffic Safety Primer: A Guidebook for Employers, are an easy way to get begin training their workers.
1. Senior Management Commitment & Employee Involvement
Safety to employees begins with the people in the leadership rules. First they must set aside a budget and policies to begin implementing safety training in their company.
2. Written Policies & Procedures
Create documents emphasizing your commitment to reducing traffic-related injuries with personal policies and communicate that to the staff. Examples of written policies could be an “Alcohol and Drug Use Policy” or “Seat Belt Use Policy.” These pieces of informative literature should be posted prominently throughout the workplace and distributed/discussed periodically.
3. Driver Agreements
Create a formal agreement for all employees who drive company or personal vehicles for work purposes. In the contract, be sure to have employees understand the policies as well as expectations when it comes to traffic safety.
4. Motor Vehicle Record Checks
Depending on the nature of the business, you may want to filter out any potential employees with poor driving records. This way you will not run the risk of hiring an individual likely to be involved in a work-related motor vehicle accident. Ultimately, this will avoid potential problems and liability on the employer’s end.
5. Crash Reporting and Investigation
Your company needs to create a process for notifying and investigating car crashes. From there, you will be able to accurate determine the cause of the accident, evaluate whether or not the crash was avoidable and potentially eliminate them in the future. Assuming steps 1 through 4 were conducted accurately, all employees should be well aware of the protocol for reporting car crashes.
6. Vehicle Selection, Maintenance and Inspection
Not all accidents are due to the negligence of a driver. All work vehicles need to be properly maintained and routinely inspected. In addition, when purchasing a new vehicle for the company, safety features need to be carefully considered. A good resource for comparing model safety features can be found at SaferCar.gov. It is a bit harder to keep the same tabs on personal vehicles used for work, however.
7. Disciplinary Action System
None of these driver safety steps would work if not for a strategized course of action in the event of an employee causing a work-related preventable crash. Any good disciplinary plan usually involves certain actions that deter employees from careless motor vehicle operation.
8. Reward/Incentive Program
Just as employees that don’t follow the safe driving procedures should be punished, drivers with positive work driving performance should be rewarded with some sort of special privilege, recognition or monetary reward. It also helps motivate employees to consistently strive for the upmost safety on the road.
9. Driver Training/Communication
It is vital that employers are perpetually keeping their people trained. One-time training is easily forgotten so communication and refresher trainings are important as well.
10. Regulatory Compliance
Finally, the last step is to ensure that your company’s procedures are aligned with the local, state or federal regulations in your Area. For instance the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT), Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and Employment Standards Administration (ESA) could be involved in certain regulations that would govern your drivers and/or vehicles.
Initiating driver safety education, procedures and accountability is very important for saving your company an exorbitant amount of financial resources. However, there’s a much more valuable resource that you are safeguarding as well in doing so…
Protecting Your Company’s Biggest Asset…the People
No business can operate without it’s people. Encouraging your “work family” to engage in safe driving behavior keeps your irreplaceable employees free of injury, missed work or even death. There’s no price greater than the price of peace of mind.
Ensuring that your commercial work vehicles and workers compensation insurance plan covers all the bases is another way to save money and protect employees. If you haven’t revisited your businesses current coverage lately, maybe it’s time to do so.Pages: