Make safety a priority.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, in 2013, 76.4% of workers 16 years and older drove alone on their commute to and from work, and another almost 10% carpooled. As something that most do every single day, Driver Safety seems to be overlooked when it comes to other Wellness Programs. Most HR Wellness Programs focus on individual health, including healthy eating and regular exercise, and some incorporate financial and emotional wellness.
Recent studies have shown that workers stress over their finances while at work, and that stress carries on through their commute home. Over-worrying can dominate thought and cause distraction for your employee when they are driving. While focusing on health wellness is important, it is also critical to concentrate on Driver Safety. As reported by the CDC, motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of work-related deaths in the USA, regardless of the type of business.
Figure 4 from “Everybody Drives”
Research shows that off-hours automobile crashes cost employers nearly as much as on-hours crashes do, but employers carry the costs differently. Thus, many employers have yet to take sensible counter measures. Traffic crashes cost companies billions in direct crash-related costs, such as medical care liability, lost productivity, and property damage. The health fringe benefit costs are the costs on account of illness or injury of employees and their dependents. Employers also pay for harm caused to non-employees involved in work-related crashes.
Safeguarding employees from automobiles crashes makes good sense for businesses. Cost-conscious companies and employers would be smart to control costs by providing comprehensive driver safety programs, promoting safe driving practices through sound driver policy and enforcement, and educating employees to the dangers of distracted driving, whether or not employees are on the clock.
In 2013, motor vehicle crashes killed 1,620 people and injured an estimated 293,000 while they were working. Over half of the injuries forced people to skip work. Overall, on-the-job crash injuries (fatal and non-fatal) amounted to about 7.6% of all crash injuries.
Figure 3 from “Everybody Drives”
Nearly half of this cost resulted from off-the-job injuries to workers and their dependents. The remainder resulted from on-the-job crashes. Although the driving fatality rates have reduced by over 33% since 1998, it is a fact that 1 in every 5 vehicles on the road are being driven by someone who is driving on business. It is a sad fact that 1 in every 8 accidents involves someone driving on business and an even sadder fact that a business driver, travelling 25,000 miles annually, has a 1 in 8000 chance of not living to collect their pension – the same rates of survival as that of a coal-face worker.
Let’s say you’re an employer, and a member of your key staff was involved in an accident causing severe injury. How would that affect your business? Would subordinates be able to take up the role sufficiently without losing or de-stabilising, your business? Would new staff have to be employed, trained, or would other staff have to be re-trained? Could there possibly be adverse publicity that would affect the goodwill of your business? Would goods in transit have to be re-manufactured, re-packaged and re-transported? Who will pay for the clean-up operation, emergency services, medical insurances, sick pay, etc? Would deadlines be met?
Never before has there been a time when more proactive measures towards safety in the workplace have been in need. A road vehicle is a work place and is the responsibility of the organisation that uses it. It is no longer possible for an employer to assume that because their employee holds a driving licence, that the driving skills of that individual are suitable for the company’s tasks.