Employee safety behind the wheel
Unless they work remotely, most employees have to commute to and from work every day. While there is an inherent risk of driving a car to and from the office, driving as a function of a job comes with risks of its own.
Even though professionals such as truck drivers, bus drivers, and transportation workers often face the highest risk of being involved in a motor vehicle accident, the truth is that everyone who drives for work has an increased chance of experiencing a crash.
Driving is often a big part of the day for millions of workers across the country, which is one of the reasons why motor vehicle accidents have become the first and second leading cause of death in every major industry group, according to the CDC.
As an employer, you can’t prevent accidents, but you can do things as an organization to help reduce the chances of a crash occurring.
Three ways to reduce the chances of a motor vehicle accident
While it’s impossible to stop accidents from happening altogether, there are things that you can do as a business owner to reduce the chances of a motor vehicle crash happening. For example:
- Create a culture that encourages employees to practice workplace safety and safe driving
- Implement a safe driving program
- Ensure all routine and preventative maintenance is up to date on company vehicles
Create a culture that encourages employees to engage in safe driving
Employees expect certain things from their employer—a safe work environment being one of them. Often employers only consider keeping their office environment safe and not the environment outside of the office. However, the truth is that employers play a significant role in keeping workers safe while driving during working hours.
One way to lower the risk of your staff having an accident is to establish a workplace culture that focuses on safety inside and outside of the office.
Providing workshops or training that focuses on safe driving tips and the dangers of driving can be a great place to start. These sessions can include topics like:
- The importance of wearing a seat belt
- The dangers of distracted driving
- What to do if you’re falling asleep behind the wheel
- Safe driving tips to practice while driving
Some of these items might seem like minor issues, but they can significantly impact whether or not an accident occurs.
Implement a safe driving program
Another excellent way for employers to cut down on work-related crashes is to implement a safe driving program. Often these programs have several parts but ultimately have the same end goal—to encourage safe driving when traveling for work.
As the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health lays out in their safe driving worksheet, there are four critical components to a successful motor vehicle safety program. These pieces include:
- Gaining the support and commitment of company leaders
- Establishing policies to help promote road safety
- Utilize driving selection, training, and evaluation to maximize road safety
- Create a schedule to keep up on vehicle maintenance
Employers who want to increase the effectiveness of their safe driving program can also mandate that transportation employees take a defensive driving course. These classes will help educate staff on managing their vehicle and minimize the risk of a motor vehicle accident.
Perform routine maintenance and repairs on company vehicles
One of the easiest ways to cut down on motor vehicle crashes is to ensure all vehicles are in excellent working condition. Keeping up to date on routine maintenance tasks such as oil changes, tire rotations, and replacing brakes can help keep a vehicle running smoothly.
Employers should also consider the vehicles they purchase for team members to use. Choosing cars with high safety ratings that include advanced safety features like rear-facing cameras, adaptive cruise control, and lane departure warning systems will also decrease the likelihood of an accident.
Preparing for an accident with workers’ compensation insurance
No matter how many safe driving seminars you put on or how often you inspect vehicles, accidents are going to happen. When an accident does occur, you want to make sure that your employee and your company are financially covered.
In addition to commercial auto insurance, you should have a workers’ compensation policy in place. With this coverage, if an accident were to occur that resulted in an injury to your employee during their normal course of work, then their medical expenses and disability benefits could all be covered.
Having the proper insurance, along with a safe driving strategy will help keep your team safe when behind the wheel.
Thanks for reading! Please note that this content is intended for educational purposes only. As best practices change regularly, you should refer to your trusted advisor for specific counsel. If you’re a small business owner, learn more about workplace safety or check your workers’ comp rate in 3 minutes.