When driving as a function of their work, your employees are considered a representative of your business. If they happen to become injured as a direct result of going about their job, they’re eligible for compensation. And you, as the employer, are liable for any costs related to their treatment and follow-up care.
Contrary to popular belief, not all work-related injuries happen in the physical workplace. In fact, transportation incidents account for nearly 40% of all work-related fatalities. Workplace safety, therefore, isn’t simply a matter of making the actual workspace safe. Taking precautions to reduce the risk of driving-related incidents is just as important.
For many industries, traveling from one place to the next is a big part of their business. Landscapers, commercial cleaners, construction workers, electricians, exterminators, painters, plumbers, and delivery services all travel. And some more than others. If any of them meet with a mishap on the road in the course of their duties, their employers are liable not only for property and equipment damage but also for personal injury to their driver and any other involved parties.
In case you’re still not convinced about the importance of accident prevention, here are a few more statistics:
For these reasons, it’s vital that employers make sure their small business insurance includes commercial auto insurance coverage.
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Let’s check out some ways you can reduce the risk of auto related injuries for your small business.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, distracted driving caused an estimated 8% of fatal crashes, 14% of injury crashes, and 13% of all police-reported auto traffic crashes in 2020.
When you look at this statistic in conjunction with people who use their cell-phone while driving, the problem is clear. While you can’t always be in the seat next to your employees, you can take precautions such as:
Fatigued driving, much like distracted driving, accounts for many accidents and injuries. In fact, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that of the about 100,000 drowsy-driving crashes reported every year with about 50,000 of them resulting in injuries and nearly 800 resulting in fatalities.
You can’t always be there to keep your employees alert, but you can make sure they adhere to a set travel schedule that gives them adequate time to take breaks and rest.
If you know that driving is a regular part of business operations, a good driving record should be a must-have qualification for the people you hire. As an employer, you have the right to perform a driving background check, including an examination of a prospective hire’s driving record and any past driving violations. If their record can’t withstand this scrutiny, they’re not the right fit.
Nowadays, you can track and monitor your employees’ driving habits with telematics that monitor things like whether drivers and passengers are wearing seatbelts, speeding, braking hard or suddenly, or hitting the gas.
Dash cams are another useful tool to monitor driving behaviors and circumstances. Be sure you’re operating within your state’s privacy laws before you install those.
Boss Report Card recommends you “make sure all company vehicles are regularly serviced and well-maintained. This can help prevent breakdowns and accidents on the road.”
According to the NHTSA, vehicular defects played a critical role in 44,000 of the 2.2 million accidents reviewed in the National Motor Vehicle Crash Causation Survey. You can’t do much about the other vehicles on the road, but you can make sure yours are in good working order, thereby mitigating risks.
By ensuring your work vehicles undergo regular maintenance – such as oil changes, tire rotations, and brake inspections – potential issues can be fixed before they become safety issues. Inspections help to ensure that all safety features, such as airbags and seat belts, function as they should. This protects your employees and reduces the risk of accidents. Regular maintenance also helps prolong the life of your vehicles, which may prevent costly repairs later.
Providing driver safety training for any employees who will be operating your company vehicles helps reduce the risk of accidents and injuries on the road. Training can show how to properly operate the vehicles, as well as how to drive safely in various conditions.
Safety training can also help employees become more aware of the potential hazards on the road, like distractions, driving while drowsy, and other risks. Educating your team might even improve morale since getting people together shows that you value their safety.
Set up a process for drivers to report any near-miss accidents and noteworthy hazards as soon as they’re able to. Doing so can help to prevent future accidents by addressing any potential hazards or issues that your employees witness while on the road.
Describing near-misses can help to minimize the risk of getting into similar accidents in the future. Reporting hazards along common travel routes, for instance, is helpful for other drivers who may be planning to drive the same route later. Foster a culture of safety and encourage your drivers to be aware of their surroundings.
Operating a vehicle for your business comes with risks. Even the safest driver can find themselves in circumstances out of their control, and no one wants to be stuck paying the cost of repairs out of their own pocket.
Luckily, commercial auto insurance can help you avoid expensive repairs and keep your carpentry business running smoothly. Think you may need a policy? Pie can help with that!