OSHA has published a set of guidelines to help employers reduce accidents among their driving employees. The document is not a set of new regulations or a new standard. It is only advisory ― the federal agency describes it as “informational in content” ― and is intended to assist employers in providing a safe and healthful workplace.” Nonetheless, the guidelines are an excellent way to establish a system that can reduce the likelihood of crashes involving your driving workers.
What should your safe driving program include?
OSHA recommends implementing a safe driving program that includes the following:
Management commitment and employee involvement
Senior management can provide leadership, set policies and allocate resources (staff and budget) to create a safety culture. Actively encourage employee participation and involvement at all levels of the organization to help the effort to succeed. Involve workers in the planning phase of the policy.
Create a clear, comprehensive and enforceable set of traffic safety policies and communicate them to all employees. They can cover such things as:
- A zero-tolerance policy for using smartphones while driving and only using hands-free technology when talking on the phone.
- A zero-tolerance policy of driving under the influence of alcohol or illegal drugs.
- Requiring all driving staff to wear seat belts at all times.
These policies should be posted throughout the workplace, distributed to staff and discussed at company meetings. Offer incentives for sticking to the rules, and set consequences for disregarding them. It’s also wise to ensure they’re applied universally, rather than inconsistently.
Establish a contract with all employees who drive for work purposes, whether they drive assigned company vehicles or use their personal vehicles. By signing an agreement, the employee acknowledges awareness and understanding of the organization’s traffic safety policies, procedures and expectations regarding driver performance, vehicle maintenance and reporting of moving violations.
Check driving records
Check the driving records of all employees who drive for work purposes. Screen out drivers who have poor records. Review their moving violation records periodically to ensure that the driver maintains a good driving record. Clearly define the number of violations an employee/driver can have before losing the privilege of driving for work.
Establish and enforce a crash reporting and investigation process. Require employees to report all accidents to their supervisor as soon as feasible after the incident. Set policies for what driving employees should do after an accident. Also, investigate all crashes and try to identify their root causes, so you can possibly help workers avoid making the same mistakes in the future.
Vehicle maintenance and inspection
Selecting, properly maintaining and routinely inspecting company vehicles is an important part of preventing crashes and related losses.
Review the safety features of all vehicles to be considered for use. Conduct routine preventative maintenance on vehicles as per manufacturer’s recommendations. Also check safety-related equipment and brakes regularly.
Disciplinary action system
Set rules for dealing with employees who are cited for a moving violation or are involved in a preventable crash while driving on the job. Options include:
- Assigning points for moving violations.
- Progressive discipline if a driver begins to develop a pattern of repeated traffic violations and/or preventable crashes.
- The system should describe what specific actions will be taken if a driver accumulates a certain number of violations or preventable crashes in any predefined period.
Develop and implement a driver reward/incentive program that includes recognition, monetary rewards, special privileges or the use of incentives to motivate the achievement of a predetermined goal or to increase participation in a program or event.
Driver training and communication
Provide continuous driver safety training and communication. Even experienced drivers benefit from periodic training and reminders of safe driving practices and skills. It is easy to become complacent and not think about the consequences of our driving habits.