Driving is the most dangerous thing people do everyday, yet traffic safety gets little notice. Improving traffic safety involves what highway patrol officers refer to as the “Three E’s’ – Education, enforcement, and engineering.” Although employers must leave the engineering up to the experts, in this case, the Department of Transportation, company leaders can and should adopt principles of road safety for all employees, not just business drivers, as a core value of their organizations safety culture. BLR helps us recognize the importance and the need for extending employer safety programs to include driving safety for “all” employees.
October 6 through 10 is Drive Safely Work Week 2014. The theme for DSWW 2014 is “Driving Your Safety Culture Home.”
The Network of Employees for Traffic Safety (NETS) leads the annual Drive Safely Work Week observance and offers DSWW information and materials. The theme for 2014 is Driving Your Safety Culture Home.
NETS is a not-for-profit, employer-led road safety advocacy organization that provides a variety of programs and services including an annual employer survey of best practices.
Asked his view of why vehicle accidents continue to be such a persistent workplace problem, Jack Hanley, executive director of NETS, points to employer perceptions of risk. Closely regulated, high-hazard sites have solid risk-reduction and training initiatives in place to ensure that catastrophic accidents don’t happen.
While leaders at such workplaces are used to thinking about and planning for risk, that attention often does not extend to driving, where accidents are seen as the cost of doing business. “In many cases, they have not turned on the light to see that, in fact, they need to bring road safety into their safety culture,” says Hanley “At companies with the best driving programs, the safety culture extends beyond the building and onto the roads.”
Driving safety efforts continue to evolve over the years. For example, a hands-free policy of five or so years ago at a progressive workplace has probably been replaced today with a no-calls policy, i.e., if the engine is on, the phone is off.
NETS regularly surveys its members to learn about best practices of companies with the safest driving records. In recent surveys those practices have included:
- Tracking completion of driver training on a road safety scorecard,
- Conducting ride-alongs with new-hires and high-risk drivers,
- Communicating road safety messages via senior-management presentations at meetings,
- Terminating drivers for violating policies on mobile phone use,
- Establishing a special team or board that reviews every collision and shares lessons learned,
- Offering training modules on drowsy or fatigued driving, and
- Developing a high-risk driver program.