Do you have employees who drive for work? If so, do you have safety policies and procedures in place that cover driving for work purposes? As an employer, you are responsible for the safety of your employees, whether they drive full-time or as part of their job and whether they drive a company vehicle or their own car.
This week is Road Safety at Work Week, running from March 2-6 , 2015 It’s a week dedicated to encouraging BC employers to take action on workplace road safety.
How Road Safety Affects Your Bottom Line
Crashes are the leading cause of traumatic workplace deaths in the province. On average each year, 23 workers are killed and another 1,290 are injured and miss time from work because of work-related motor-vehicle crashes2. Every day, more than 450 workers are not at work because of work-related crashes. Workers hurt in motor vehicle crashes are typically off work almost twice as long as workers injured in other ways.
So, while you may have a good safety record at the moment, the implications of having one of your employees hurt or killed in a motor-vehicle crash could be devastating, not only to the employee and their family, but to your bottom line, employee morale, and your company’s brand and reputation. It’s not only your legal responsibility, it’s in your best interests to take action to better protect your employees when they are behind the wheel for work.
Reducing Your Risk
The direct and indirect costs related to motor-vehicle crashes can include: costs for worker replacement, vehicle damage and/or replacement, incident investigation and loss of productivity.
You can reduce your risks by knowing your responsibilities and incorporating a road safety component into your safety program.
The first step is to identify the most common driving hazards your employees face and adopt practices that remove or reduce the risk of crashes. Using a phone while driving is a hazard that significantly increases the risk of a crash. Although the law permits hands-free devices, hands-free does not mean distraction free. Hands-free devices are no safer than hand-held devices.
Other simple road safety improvements you can do include:
- Check your employees’ drivers’ licenses and abstracts every year not just at the time of hire. This may help you identify which employees need driving refreshers and which don’t.
- If your employees drive their own vehicles for work, check annually that their vehicles are insured for work-related driving, and that they are well maintained. While many employers may see this as an employee’s responsibility, it is your responsibility if they are driving for you.
- Incorporate vehicle inspections and maintenance standards for all vehicles your employees drive, and make sure they follow them.
For more information about how to better protect your employees when they are on the road, visit Road Safety at Work which offers free tools and resources, as well as free workshops and one-on-one consulting services, to businesses in BC.
2 WorkSafeBC reports that in 2013, the average cost and days of work lost for each motor-vehicle related claim were $49,250 and 100 days respectively, significantly higher than the provincial average of $19,500 and 58 days for all WorkSafeBC time-loss claims. WorkSafeBC, BIA Datamart and ODF Snapshot, 2009 to 2013, June 2014.