Creating a safe driving program for workers
Every year, motor vehicle crashes cost employers $60 billion in medical care, legal expenses, property damage and lost productivity, according to a white paper from OSHA, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Network of Employers for Traffic Safety.
NETS lists the following steps employers can take to build a safe driving program for the workplace:
- Request involvement from both management and employees. Senior management involvement is essential for setting policies and allocating resources for a safe driving program. To help the effort succeed, encourage employee participation at all levels.
- Have written policies. Create clear, understandable and enforceable driving safety policies and communicate them to all employees. Post them throughout the workplace, distribute copies regularly and discuss the policies at meetings. Topics to consider addressing include a ban on cell phone use while driving, zero-tolerance for alcohol or drug consumption during company hours, and mandatory use of safety belts.
- Create driver-agreement contracts. Establish a contract with all employees who drive for work purposes – whether they drive company-owned vehicles or their own vehicles – acknowledging awareness and understanding of safety policies, procedures and expectations for driver performance.
- Perform driving record checks. Check the driving records of all employees who drive for work purposes. Clearly define the number of violations an employee can have, if any, before losing the privilege of driving for work.
- Report crashes. All motor vehicle crashes – regardless of severity – should be reported to the employee’s supervisor as soon as possible. They also should be reviewed to determine their cause and whether or not the crashes were preventable.
- Implement a disciplinary system. Develop a system for progressive discipline if a driver develops a pattern of traffic violations or preventable incidents. The system should describe what specific actions will be taken if a driver accumulates a certain number of violations.
- Conduct driver training. Provide driver safety training, as even experienced drivers benefit from periodic training and reminders of safe driving practices and skills.
- Keep company vehicles in working order. A mechanic should perform a thorough inspection of company vehicles at least once a year, and results should be kept on file.