Each year, one of the biggest reasons for workers' compensation claims and missed work is employees who get into automobile accidents. Truckers aren't the only workers who drive. Employees across a wide range of professions count being behind the wheel among their work tasks. Whether picking up a bosses lunch, driving to do tech repairs, or do any number of other work dues which involve being behind-the-wheel, employees end up spending hours driving.
If an employee is behind the wheel and an accident happens, this can result in a workers' compensation claim. Employees can get lost wages and medical coverage, while survivors of workers killed in on-the-job car accidents can get death benefits. Workers' comp coverage for accident related injuries costs a lot of money, and employers also face other costs including the potential to be held liable for injuries employees cause to others if their workers cause an on-the-job accident.
Employers have a strong interest in preventing work-related auto accidents because these accidents cost companies $47 million a year once you factor in workers compensation benefits, lost productivity, and other expenditures. Employees also benefit from employer efforts to prevent accidents, because collisions could cost their health or their lives.
In order to help employers prevent on-the-job auto accidents, Drive Safely Work Week is held each year. This year, the event is going on October 3 through October 7. Drive Safely Work Week has been organized by the Network of Employers for Traffic (NETS).
NETs has a tool kit to help employers provide appropriate training during Drive Safely Work Week which is aimed at preventing workplace accidents by their employees. This tool kit is free and offers training materials in keeping with that year's theme for Drive Safely Work Week. The theme changes annually. This year, in 2016, the theme is on preventing distracted driving accidents while on-the-job. Some of the lessons which are a focus of this week include:
- Recognizing signs of drowsy driving and understanding drowsy driving risk factors.
- Understanding the importance of sleep for safe driving and successful functioning at work.
- Avoiding mobile phone use while driving a motor vehicle and avoiding other types of in-vehicle distractions which increase crash risks, such as infotainment systems.
- Identifying and avoiding other potential sources of automobile accidents, both at work and at home.
- Bucking up whenever a driver is in the car. The chances of death in a motor vehicle accident are reduced by 50 percent due to seatbelt use.
Employers may wish to try to make use of this tool kit or may wish to try to take advantage of other training opportunities during Drive Safely Work Week. On-the-job auto accidents cause around 1.6 million days of missed work each year, which is a huge amount of lost productivity. Preventing even a portion of these accidents would be great for both employers and workers.