Hoosier workers were more likely to be killed in motor vehicle crashes than from any other hazard on the job, including workplace violence and machine-related injuries. In 2011, 61 workers died as a result of a transportation-related incident. More than 40 workers were killed in roadway incidents alone.
Transportation-related fatalities are not exclusive to those working in the transportation industry and those workers who operate heavy trucks. These incidents occur in nearly every major industry in Indiana where vehicles are used to transport equipment, supplies, conduct work in roadways (e.g. construction workers) and deliver products and perform service work.
Workers at risk for suffering serious injuries and death may include, but are not limited to the following:
Real estate agents
Farmers and other agriculture workers
Social service workers
Police officers, fire fighters and other emergency responders
Long-haul transportation drivers
Salespeople and service technicians
Vehicle repair and tow truck drivers
What can employers do to reduce the likelihood of work-related crashes?
Unlike other workplaces, the roadway is not a closed environment. Preventing work-related roadway crashes requires strategies that combine traffic safety principles and sound safety management practices. Although employers cannot control roadway conditions, they can promote safe driving behavior by providing safety information to workers and by setting and enforcing driver safety policies. Crashes are not an unavoidable part of doing business. Employers can take proactive worker safety and health-related steps to protect their employee. Below is some guidance that will assist employers in managing their mobile workforce.
Develop and Implement Policies
Assign a key member of the management team responsibility and authority to set and enforce comprehensive driver safety policy.
Enforce mandatory seatbelt use.
Do not require workers to drive irregular hours or far beyond their normal working hours.
Do not allow drivers to use cell phones or communication radios, including hands-free headsets or other electronic devices, like GPS units and tablet PCs while driving.
Develop work schedules that allow employees to adhere to speed limits and weather conditions (e.g. heavy rain, snow, sleet, hail, etc.).
Encourage employees to take develop an alternate route of travel plan prior to leaving the station. This will help alleviate driving-related stress in areas of heavy traffic or construction zones.
Develop and implement a structured vehicle maintenance program (e.g. tire pressure checks, brake maintenance, etc.).
Provide company vehicles that offer the highest possible levels of occupant protection.
- Train workers to recognize and manage driver fatigue and in-vehicle distractions.
- Develop, implement and enforce policies and procedures that prohibit distracted driving activities such as texting, emailing, conducting meetings and using cell phones in general. For assistance visit the Indiana Department of Labor's Distracted Driving Worker Safety Initiative by clicking here.
- Provide training and retraining for workers responsible for operating specialized motor vehicles or equipment.
- Emphasize to workers the necessity to follow safe driving practices both on and off-the-job.
Manage Driver Performance
- Ensure that workers assigned to drive on-the-job have a valid driver's license and one that is appropriate for the type of vehicle to be driven (Commercial Driver's License, Chauffer's, etc.).
- Perform driving records checks on prospective employees, performing periodic rechecks after hire.
- Maintain records of workers' driving performance.
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