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Keep Motor Vehicle Safety in Mind

Posted on 24 February 2017 by cradmin

motor_vehicle_guide-trafficBecause the bulk of a countertop fabrication business is performed in the shop, and installers are focused on their projects, it can be easy to forget about driving in the context of workplace safety. However, according to the Department of Labor, of the 47,718 work-related fatalities reported from 2003 to 2011, a full 36 percent involved vehicle crashes and collisions.

Furthermore, the National Institute for Occupational Safety & Health (NIOSH) estimates that the costs for workers’ compensation from these injuries reach about $2.4 billion each year. To make matters worse, NIOSH states that nearly all of these crashes and injuries were avoidable.

Safety Calls for Employer Involvement

With each new generation, the safety of motor vehicles has been improved through new features and modifications, and that trend looks as though it will continue into the indefinite future. But the only sure way to minimize the risk to acceptable levels is for employers to take the appropriate steps and pay attention to what is going on in the workplace and with individual workers who need to drive to fulfill their duties.

While several government agencies have jurisdiction over road and driver safety, the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) directly offers help to employers in developing and implementing effective driver safety programs. Not so long ago government regulatory agencies left motor vehicle safety to law enforcement, but this left a wide gap between receiving a license and violating a traffic law.

“We consciously set out to change that approach a number of years ago, recognizing that law enforcement will focus on what happens on the road but may disregard workplace factors and expectations that created the risk in the first place,” said Michael Wood, administrator of Oregon OSHA.

Workplace Driver Safety Programs

Although there are rules put in place by OSHA, state laws and other regulations aimed at reducing motor vehicle crashes and injuries, it is up to each employer to create an effective driver safety program. Following are a few guidelines for doing so:

  • Put your vehicle safety policy in writing, and have employees acknowledge they understand it with their signatures.
  • Get a copy of the driving records for each employee who will be operating a company vehicle.
  • Properly investigate and report all motor vehicle incidents.
  • Ensure vehicles are regularly maintained according to the manufacturers’ maintenance schedules.
  • Provide incentives for good driving, and discipline employees who violate the vehicle safety policy.
  • Invest the time and money to ensure all employees who will be driving are fully trained to drive each type of vehicle and educated on the rules of the road.
  • Follow all of the rules, including registration and licensing.

NIOSH Five-Year Plan

NIOSH has been actively working to improve driver safety since 2010, when the agency opened the Center for Motor Vehicle Safety. The goal of the center is to bring together all of the various organizations and authorities, public, private and academic, to identify crash risk factors and develop employer interventions that will reduce car and truck accidents on the job.

No matter how comprehensive a driver safety program is, it always makes sense to remind drivers of a few basic safety tips:

  • Always wear seatbelts.
  • Focus on the road, and avoid distractions.
  • Stay alert and don’t drive while impaired, whether the impairment is caused by alcohol, illegal drugs or legally prescribed medications.
  • Stay calm in stressful situations.
  • Keep an eye out for pedestrians.
  • Secure all tools and equipment inside and outside the vehicle.
  • Have an emergency kit available.

For Further Information

If you would like more information about driver safety for employers, contact your state department of transportation, call your nearest OSHA office or visit the following websites: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), NIOSH Vehicle Safety and the Network of Employers for Traffic Safety (NETS).

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