Every day tens of thousands of workers drive as part of their job. Some are professional drivers, operating a large commercial truck, a courier van or a taxi. Others drive from one work location to another – driving to the next construction site or a homecare client’s residence, across town to a meeting or to another town for a sales call. In all cases, the time they spend driving is very likely the most dangerous time of their day.
As an employer, you have obligations to ensure the health and safety of your employees at every one of your workplaces – the office, the warehouse, the greenhouse, the manufacturing plant AND the vehicle they drive in the course of work they do for you. Those obligations are the same whether your employees are driving a vehicle owned or leased by your company or one they own themselves.
Fast facts about road safety
- Motor vehicle crashes are a leading cause of workplace deaths. On average each year, they account for 31% of traumatic workplace fatalities
- 20 people die in work-related motor vehicle crashes every year
- Another 1,260 are injured and miss time from work
- Workers injured in motor vehicle crashes are off work longer – an average of 86 days – compared to workers injured in other ways – an average of 54 days.
The personal and financial costs of motor vehicle crashes
Occupational road safety matters because it can have a big impact on your bottom line. Even if your organization has effective road safety measures and has so far avoided a serious motor vehicle incident (MVI), all organizations have a stake in MVI costs. If your company has experienced a serious work-related MVI, you’ve seen first-hand the direct and indirect costs.
Road safety matters because of its very human and personal implications. What would happen if one of your employees was seriously injured while driving for you? Certainly, it would have real and lasting impacts for the employee. How would it affect his or her spouse, kids and friends, the rest of your employees, your business, your reputation – and you?
Know Your Obligations
Every employer needs to understand the legal context in which they run their business. There are several State and Federal laws that apply to employers who have employees who drive for work.
Supervisor and Employee Responsibilities
Employers hire supervisors to direct workers and oversee the work they do to make sure it is done according to company expectations and legal requirements.
Some example duties for supervisors are:
- Ensure the health and safety of workers under their supervision
- Be knowledgeable about the regulations that apply to the work being supervised
- Ensure workers are aware of known and reasonably foreseeable hazards
- Ensure workers comply with the regulations and any applicable orders
- Cooperate with the joint committee or worker health and safety representative, and
Each employee’s first responsibility is to take steps to protect their own health and safety, as well the health and safety of other persons – workers and non-workers. Employees must carry out their work according to safe work procedures, use necessary protective equipment, and ensure their ability to perform their work is not impaired by alcohol, drugs or other causes.
Along with those responsibilities, workers have rights with important safety implications. For example, employees are entitled to receive the training they need to safely do the work they are assigned. As well, each employee has the right to refuse legitimately unsafe driving assignments.
Engage your organization
If you have employees whose work includes driving, engage them as well as your managers and your organization in a road safety program that avoids the consequences.
Road safety matters because healthy, engaged employees are essential for your continued business success!