Safety policies and procedures
Whether their employees drive their own vehicles for work every day or only occasionally, such as to pick up supplies, meet with a client or attend a meeting, every employer must have safety policies and procedures in place.
This includes checking periodically to ensure each employee has a valid driver’s licence and that their vehicle is maintained in good working order. All it takes is one unguarded moment, one small mistake, and the consequences could be life-altering both for an employee and his or her organization.
Employees also responsible
Employees are also on the hook when they are behind the wheel for work. Whether they drive a company vehicle or their own, they must drive safely at all times and know and follow applicable driving laws as well as company policies and procedures. For example, if a company prohibits using hands-free cellphones when workers drive for work, employees must comply even when they use their own vehicle for work.
The four major factors leading to motor vehicle fatalities in Canada are:
· drinking and driving: 27%
· large truck crashes: 22%
· driver speed: 21%
· unbelted occupants: 20%
The top three driver conditions and actions that contribute to fatal collisions are:
· impairment as a result of alcohol or drugs
· being inattentive (e.g., from fatigue or distractions)
· aggressive behavior, such as driving too fast
· Once you establish which driving-related hazards pose the greatest risks to employees, you have effectively set your priorities for action. The next step towards preventing workplace crashes is to determine what people in the organization will do to eliminate or minimize exposure to those hazards.
· Risk = Exposure x Probability x Severity
· The risk equation above shows how changing any one of the variables on the right side of the equation changes associated risk. Reducing exposure to a given hazard by 50% also reduces total risk of injury and other losses by 50%. If you eliminate the hazard, exposure equals zero, and risk equals zero.
· Building on the preceding Hazard ID and Risk Assessment your company Journey Management program should explain a systematic approach you can use to identify measures to control exposure to driving-related hazards.
Driving is the riskiest activity that most employees will face. Drivers encounter risks associated with the vehicle (e.g. mechanical failure), the driving environment (e.g. road and weather conditions, traffic, pedestrians) and the driver (e.g. distractions, fatigue, stress).
A great way to eliminate those risks is to simply avoid travel. Before you automatically get behind the wheel, ask if there is another way to get the job done. Can you use an online meeting, telephone call, e-mail or video conference?
If you decide you must travel, consider your options. On a kilometre by kilometre basis, travel by air, train or bus is less risky than driving. Limiting work-related driving reduces your personal risk, builds cost efficiencies, and softens your environmental footprint.
If driving is necessary in your workplace, Your workers should plan and prepare for journeys that minimize driving-related hazards.
In order for an organization to take well-targeted actions that prevent motor vehicle incidents (MVI) and safeguard employees, it must first understand how employees can get hurt while driving for work. Identifying the hazards they encounter, understanding the factors that contribute to crashes and evaluating the associated risks are key steps in an effective road safety program.
This section explains hazard identification and risk assessment processes from a road safety perspective. It provides tools that will help you identify and categorize the hazards your drivers encounter, systematically evaluate the risks and establish priorities to control those risks. There are four parts.
1. The Basics– definitions and explanations of terms.
2. Hazard Identification – steps to systematically identify hazards, linked to a hazard inventory and classification tool.
3. Risk Assessment – two methods for assessing MVI risks plus examples that demonstrate both.
As an employer, you must take every precaution reasonable to protect your employees from this hazard. This means that your organization is responsible to ensure the safety of your employees when they drive as part of their work duties and you have the same responsibilities even if the employee is using his or her own vehicle. You must make your employees aware of the hazards related to driving and provide information, instruction and supervision to protect the health and safety of your employees.
As an employer you have an obligation to have a Journey Management Safety Program and develop policies and procedures on driver licensing requirements, safe driving practices, vehicle maintenance, and collision/injury investigations for your employees.
As a driver, you can
· Slow down: drive within the speed limit and adjust your speed for weather and road conditions. Follow vehicles at a safe distance.
· Relax: in stressful driving conditions, take a deep breath and relax. An aggressive state of mind will come through in your driving behaviour.
· Stay alert: don’t drive until you are mentally and physically able to. If you become drowsy or uncomfortable, pull over immediately and take a break.
· Plan ahead: plan your route before you start out. If you’re unfamiliar with where you’re going, check your map or plot the route with GPS, before you start off.
· Buckle up: wearing a seat belt is the law and it could end up saving your life. Wearing your seat belt properly will dramatically increase your chances of surviving a motor vehicle collision. If you are the driver, ensure all children 16 years and under are properly secured.
· Don’t drink and drive: refuse to ride with someone who may be impaired. Plan ahead: choose a designated driver before going out or set some money aside for a taxi.