NIOSH urges employers to protect young drivers
Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of work-related fatalities among people between 16 and 24 years of age, according to a new fact sheet. Some 843 such workers died in work-related motor vehicle crashes between 2003 and 2010.
Employers who are aware of the causes and solutions can prevent many of these accidents. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health has issued the new document with case studies and steps employers can take to keep their young workers safe.
Young workers in the waste management, mining, and agriculture industries are at the highest risk of death while driving, the fact sheet says. There are a variety of reasons for driving fatalities among younger workers, mostly due to driving inexperience and immaturity.
"As an employer, you can carefully monitor the selection and performance of young and inexperienced drivers as part of your overall driver safety program," NIOSH says. "Motor vehicle crashes are a significant source of liability and federal child labor laws restrict workplace driving by youth under 18 years of age."
The fact sheet advises employers to include the following elements in a motor vehicle safety program:
- A written policy statement that emphasizes management commitment and support for vehicle safety. The statement can cover responsibilities of the employer and drivers, driver selection and review processes, driver training, occupant restraints, and impaired and distracted driving.
- Program administration roles and responsibilities. The employer can designate a person responsible for implementation and follow-up, including checking employees' motor vehicle records, verifying compliance with federal and state laws and regulations, overseeing driver training, maintaining operation and maintenance files for all vehicles, and collecting and reviewing data needed to monitor the company's road safety performance.
- Driver selection, authorization, and review. NIOSH suggests employers ensure safety and protect against liability by reviewing motor vehicle records for all job applicants prior to hiring and apply predetermined standards for acceptance. Also, establishing periodic evaluations of driver qualifications, including an annual review of motor vehicle records and observation of driving performance are recommended.
"Employers are legally responsible for the safety of vehicles operated on their behalf," the document states. "Even if workers provide their own vehicles, employers share responsibility for safe operation of those vehicles."
By Nancy Grover
Read more at the WorkersComp Forum homepage.
November 4, 2013
Copyright 2013© LRP Publications