From long-haul truck drivers to mail and delivery service personnel, the safety and very lives of workers who must drive for a living are consistently in peril. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Association, a traffic accident occurs in the U.S. every five seconds, an injury every 10 seconds and a death every 12 minutes. These mind-boggling statistics put the very real and daily dangers that workers who must drive for a living into perspective.
In addition to dealing with the often dangerous and erratic driving behaviors of other motorists, workers who drive for a significant portion of their workday must also contend with inclement weather, road construction and traffic congestion. While some traffic accidents are nearly impossible to prevent, there are steps that employers can and should take to protect their workforce.
The following are some of the recommendations provided to employers by the Network of Employers for Traffic Safety for reducing traffic accidents among employees.
- Establish a safe driving training program to include clear, concise and actionable policies and procedures
- Engage in regular and on-going communication with employees about safety issues
- Pledge the strong commitment of senior management within a company to safety and the safe driving program
- Develop an incentive program for safe drivers and disciplinary actions for drivers who are involved in accidents in which they are determined to be at fault
- Ensure for the regular inspection and maintenance of a company’s vehicle fleet
Annually, U.S. employers lose an estimated $60 billion due employees who are involved in motor vehicle accidents. In fact, national estimates reveal that, when a worker is injured in a car accident, "the cost to their employer is $74,000." However, this figure likely pales in comparison to the physical, financial and emotional pain that an impacted worker and his or her family suffer.
For the benefit of both employers and employees, it's important to establish strong and successful programs geared towards promoting safe driving behaviors.
Source: OSHA.gov, "Guidelines for Employers to Reduce Motor Vehicle Crashes," Jan. 8, 2016