Federal safety officials say small business employers aren’t doing enough to promote safety among employees who drive as part of their jobs.
OSHA cites this as a top prioity for 2018. Research by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health supports the view that employers need to deploy better training in this area.
Vehicle accidents are the leading cause of workplace fatalities, with 1,252 deaths of vehicle drivers and passengers in 2016. In 2013, accidents cost employers more than $25 billion.
Managers in different small business sectors were polled, including trucking and delivery services. The stress placed on safety differs by industry, with managers of first responders and oil and gas workers more likely to offer formal safety training.
However, managers of truck and light vehicle drivers described a range of different approaches to safety that were often less comprehensive and less organized than formal safety programs.
NIOSH says well-developed safety programs stress threats specific to the work situation, such as distractions created by different communication channels when EMTs respond to an emergency.
Managers with limited safety resources said they prefer comprehensive and easily modifiable materials that are relevant to their organization.
Safety materials also need to be designed to take into account the very limited time managers can devote to safety training, especially when drivers’ varied work schedules and intense workloads that limit training opportunities.
Managers also reported that they and their drivers prefer concise, highly visual, and interactive products, such as short videos and simulations.