With spring on the horizon, it’s a busy season for floral and horticultural businesses. Your drivers face plenty of distractions while on the roads. The good news is, many of the issues can be eliminated or controlled.
Driving down your risk exposure
Vehicle operations are the biggest liability exposure many businesses face. You’re responsible for the actions of your employees while on the road—whether they’re driving your vehicle or their own vehicle on company business. An accident can have disastrous and direct financial consequences for you, as well as negative publicity for your business.
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health broke down the three main types of distractions while driving:
- Visual: Eyes off the road
- Reading a text message
- Looking up directions
- Rubbernecking to get a better view at a crash site
- Manual: Hands off the wheel
- Reaching for things inside the vehicle
- Using a hand-held device
- Adjusting the radio
- Eating or drinking
- Applying makeup
- Cognitive: Mind off driving
- Talking on the phone
- Arguing with a passenger
- Thinking about your next appointment
Dial-up a cell phone policy
Drivers of commercial motor vehicles are already banned from using handheld phones. At the start of 2012, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) prohibited the use of handheld mobile devices. Drivers who are caught can face large fines and a possible disqualification of their CDL.
If you don’t have a cell phone policy in place, you could expose your company to lawsuits costing tens of millions of dollars. To illustrate the risks, the National Safety Council put together the video “Why every workplace needs a cell phone policy.” As part of your policy you should:
- Ban texting and hand-held/hands-free phones used in a company vehicle and apply the same rules to driving a personal vehicle for work purposes or using a company-issued phone while driving a personal vehicle
- Require workers to pull over in a safe location if they text, make a call, or look up directions
- Prepare workers before implementing these policies by communicating:
- How distracted driving puts them at risk of a crash
- How driving requires their full attention while they’re on the road
- What they need to do to comply with your company’s policies
- What action you’ll take if they don’t follow these policies
- Consider having workers acknowledge that they have read and understand these policies
- Provide information to help workers talk to their family about distracted driving
Hortica’s Loss Control & Safety Services team is here to help you put a cell phone policy and other safety policies in place. Talk with a Hortica specialist to learn more.
For more information on safety preparation for your business, check out the Hortica Resources section.
Take a look at our Loss Control and Safety program, which offers many different risk management practices ranging from customer training programs and video loan programs, to Tailgate Training and posters.
Listen to the full What, Why, and How of Risk Management podcast, produced in conjunction with GIE Media.