Mom Was Always Right!
Words of wisdom regarding vehicle safety
Go ahead, admit it, you’ve heard these words of wisdom from your mother before…
- slow down or you’ll hurt yourself
- take care of your toys
- get your rest
- keep your room picked up
Did you ever think that they ring true in business, too? Maintaining vehicles and reducing their speed, making sure drivers are not pushed beyond their limits and keeping vehicles clean can be critical to your bottom line. The life of an employee or vehicle may be at stake. These factors can cost dollars or save them whether dealing with replacing a truck, reducing fuel costs or preventing injuries to valuable employees. Mom’s advice is sound.
Motor vehicle related incidents consistently lead the way in work related accidents. US labor statistics show that highway incidents have been the #1 cause of workplace fatalities since 1992 (http://www.bls.gov/opub/ils/pdf/opbils07.pdf, Chart 25) and resulted in one in five work related fatalities in 2010 (www.bls.gov/iif/oshcfoi1.htm#2010, Chart 4). These crashes, whether fatal or not, have high costs and cut across all industries and occupations. Workers who transport cargo are logically at risk, but workers who spend time in company vehicles or their own vehicles can impact your business, too.
Have you discussed motor vehicle safety at a safety meeting recently? It is worth adding to your rotation. Do your written policies address safe driving behaviors, driving under the safest conditions and proper maintenance of all vehicles? A few topics you may want to include are:
PUT IT DOWN! Keep your hands on the wheel, your eyes on the road and your attention on driving. Cell phones and texting are easy, fast and convenient ways to stay in touch. The problem starts when drivers use cell phones and text; these distractions are a recipe for accidents.
Did you know that drivers who use hand-held devices are four times as likely to get into crashes serious enough to injure themselves and that using a cell phone while driving, whether it’s hand-held or hands-free, delays a driver’s reactions as much as having a blood alcohol level at the legal limit of .08 percent?
Eat Right – Get Enough Beneficial Sleep – Take Breaks – Exercise Regularly – Reduce Excess Weight – Manage Time – Relax – Reduce Caffeine – Quit Smoking – Avoid Alcohol and Drugs.
Did you know that the wake/sleep cycle that our bodies go through involves our internal clocks and controls the pattern of alertness in our bodies? Without adequate sleep, the drowsiness experienced during natural “lulls” can be stronger and may cause greater adverse effects on a driver’s performance and alertness. A study by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration found that driver alertness is related to time of day more than hours on the job. The study shows that people are less alert at night, especially after midnight. Fatigue can be caused by three categories of factors:
physical environment (temperature and vibrations)
physiological factors like inadequate sleep, drugs and alcohol, irregular eating and habits
psychological factors like anger, fear and frustration.
LISTEN for unusual or abnormal sounds – thumps, bumps, squeaks, squeals, air leaks, etc.
SMELL for unusual odors – like burning rubber or insulation, scorched fabric, hot oil, etc.
FEEL any change in operation—steering, braking or handling.
OBSERVE all aspects of equipment during routine pre and post trip inspections – even small defects in lights, wiring, cables, tires, locks, air lines, couplings, brakes, etc.
Major problems can be avoided with early detection and should be reported promptly and accurately to your maintenance team. Preventative maintenance is key to avoiding costly repairs. As Mom always said, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”.
For more resources and best practices on vehicle safety, visit our Fleet & Auto Safety page.
Acadia Insurance is pleased to share this material with its customers. Please note, however, that nothing in this document should be construed as legal advice or the provision of professional consulting services. This material is for general informational purposes only, and while reasonable care has been utilized in compiling this information, no warranty or representation is made as to accuracy or completeness. Distribution of this information does not constitute an assumption by us of your obligations to provide a safe workplace. Maintaining a safe workplace in accordance with all laws is your responsibility. We make no representation or warranty that our activities or recommendations will place you in compliance with law, relieve you of potential liability or ensure your premises or operations are safe. We exercise no control over your premises or operations and have no responsibility or authority to implement loss prevention practices or procedures.