August 2017 Safety Coach: Speedy Running Back is a Luxury, Speedy Driver is Costly

Safety Coach

Most drivers recognize speeding is a threat to their own safety and that speeding can put others around them on the road in jeopardy, too. Yet, speeding remains one of the most common risky driving behaviors, and few view this risky behavior in the same social context as being arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol, according to a report from the National Transportation Safety Board.

When you talk with your employees and your drivers about speeding, ask if they are familiar with the hurry-up-and-get-there syndrome. You know the one: A person zooms by, then a minute or two later can be spotted only a few yards ahead in congested traffic.

Continue reading August 2017 Safety Coach: Speedy Running Back is a Luxury, Speedy Driver is Costly

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August 2017 Newsletter: Phone Distractions Extend Beyond White Lines on the Side of the Road

Our Driving Concern Senior Program Manager Lisa Robinson speaks to issues and concerns all employers face when trying to make their workforce safe on the road:

Admit it, you have laughed at the videos of distracted walkers.

It’s funny to watch the texting woman in a Chinese shopping mall fall into the fountain. It’s not so funny if you are absorbing the brunt of costs associated with injuries that result from these types of incidents. Employers are paying for more and more injuries related to phone distractions.

Q: Do you have employees that walk at lunch? Or as part of a health and wellness program sponsored by your organization? Do you have salesmen that walk as part of their job — to-and-from their car? Someone who goes to the post office or office supply store — walking from the parking lot to the building? Or employees that ride their bikes to work?

A: Sure you do. People walk and ride bikes all time, some for work, others for fun. Distractions – specifically texting and talking on cell phones – have contributed to a rise in injuries and fatalities involving pedestrians and cyclists across the nation.

Continue reading August 2017 Newsletter: Phone Distractions Extend Beyond White Lines on the Side of the Road

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July 2017 Safety Coach: Keep Helmet Safety & Impaired Driving Risks at Forefront

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Congratulations, you made it to work today! You are a safe and defensive driver. Aren’t you glad?

You should be. The little things you do make a difference. You know this because you see the risks others take. For example, take that big guy riding that big bike. He is decked out in all the fancy motorcycle gear. He is feeling good. His body is well-protected.

His head? Not so much. He is not wearing a helmet. Where is the logic in that? Your brain is the most complex organ in your body. In a motorcycle crash, your chances of survival diminish if you are not wearing a helmet. And if you do survive, what are the chances you will suffer a traumatic brain injury that will impact your quality of life? Long-term care is a real possibility. That means somebody else could be providing assistance, including changing your diapers.

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How Risky Driving Behaviors Impact Your Bottom Line

In 2016, more than 265,000 people were injured in traffic crashes statewide, according to the Texas Department of Transportation. One person was killed every 2 hours 20 minutes. When an employee misses work because of a crash, employer’s experience a decline in productivity. Crashes — whether they occur on or off the job — increase costs for everything from insurance premiums to fringe benefits. Traffic safety can help you drive change and reduce incidents involving risky driving behaviors such as distracted, drunk and drowsy driving.

 

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Doesn’t Matter How Far: Just Belt Up!

A two-second task is one of the least expensive and most effective ways for Texas employers to reduce costs associated with crashes. By promoting seat belt use, you save lives and you save money. In 2016, 43.7% of people killed on state roads were not restrained when the fatal crash occurred, according to the Texas Department of Transportation. One, two: buckle your …

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May 2017 Safety Coach: How to Combat the Rise of Drug-Impaired Driving

Safety Coach

Employees drive to-and-from work and may drive as part of their job. Drugged-impaired driving is on the rise.

This message rings loud and clear in a report from the Governors Highway Safety Association — Drug-Impaired Driving: A Guide for States. GHSA said drugs were found in 43% of drivers tested in fatal crashes vs. 37% in alcohol-involved fatal crashes.

What you need to know is drugs – including the over-the-counter variety and prescription medications – can impact your employees’ ability to work and can impact your bottom line. In the case of driving, drugs can compromise concentration, judgment and reaction time.

In Texas, there were 3,337 crashes involving drivers under the influence of drugs in 2015, according to the Texas Department of Transportation. A closer look at the data indicates there were 222 fatal drug crashes, 289 crashes involving incapacitating injuries and 611 crashes involving non-incapacitating injuries.

What’s the cost to a Texas employer? The National Safety Council has created a tool for you to use and find the answer: Substance Use Cost Calculator for Employers. It’s free and it’s easy to use. You plug in your workplace location, the type of business or industry you are in and the number of employees in your organization.

With that information, a report is generated that you can present to your executive leadership team. At your workplace, you may want to expand drug testing panels to include commonly prescribed medications. Further, you can protect your employees, your organization and your community by working to promote traffic safety and drawing attention to drugged-impaired driving.

Tailgate Talk

Prescription Drugs Can Put You at Risk Behind the Wheel

Can you identify four common workplace risks associated with prescription painkiller use? How about your employees? While you are out in the field, pull your team together and share these answers from Painkillers on the Job at your next Tailgate Talk.

Taking prescription drugs can lead to risks for those:

  1. Driving vehicles (commuting to-and-from work or while on the job)
  2. Operating machinery/equipment
  3. Making critical assessments
  4. Handling tasks that require focus and concentration (pace diminishes and productivity declines)

One study indicated enough prescription painkillers were provided in 2010 to medicate every American around the clock for an entire month. So, at any given time, some of your employees may be using prescription drugs and may be subject to these risks.

Next, talk about The Two Faces of Prescription Drugs. Yes, prescription medications are helpful taken in the right doses, at the right times, and when users are aware of potential side effects.

What is the flip side? Taking prescription drugs for long periods of time can lead to:

  • Dependency
  • Addiction, especially to pain medication
  • Abuse, particularly with pain medications and when drugs falls into the wrong hands
  • Overdoses

Every day, 60 people die from opioid pain medications, according to research from the National Safety Council. Just as alarming: 70% of people who have abused prescription painkillers reported getting them from friends or relatives.

Watch: The story of an Oklahoma Wonder Woman who “coded” twice after being hit head-on by a drugged driver and recently celebrated her third “re-birthday.”

NSC provides a free kit you can download to Make Your Workplace Opioid Free.

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May 2017 Newsletter: Live with Lisa: Make Traffic Safety a Habit at Work with Our New Videos

Our Driving Concern Sr. Program Manager Lisa Robinson speaks to issues and concerns all employers face when trying to make their workforce safe on the road:

Buckle your seat belt, wash your hands. These are examples of healthy habits that easily can be accomplished is less than one minute. You don’t think much about either one because you are in the habit of doing both.

Q: Have you thought about incorporating traffic safety into your regular workplace safety culture in a similar fashion? By making traffic safety a habit?

A: No? Why not? You can reduce risks, prevent injuries and save lives at your organization through your educational efforts. Make it a habit to talk about traffic safety. You don’t have to talk forever. Often, one or two minutes will do. Just make your efforts consistent and ongoing. Include non-verbal messaging, too. Hang posters in the breakroom and on bulletin boards. Affix window-clings in your company vehicles and place our Toilet Tabloids in your bathrooms.

Continue reading May 2017 Newsletter: Live with Lisa: Make Traffic Safety a Habit at Work with Our New Videos

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April 2017 Safety Coach: Tips to Protect Pedestrians and Your Bottom Line

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Many factors have contributed to pedestrian traffic fatalities reaching their highest levels in more than two decades, including distracted walking and distracted driving.

Nationwide, the number of pedestrians killed is estimated to have increased by 11% in 2016, according to a report produced by the Governors Highway Safety Association. GHSA data shows 10 states and the District of Columbia had pedestrian fatality rates greater than 2.0 (per 100,000 population) in 2015, including Texas.

In 4 of the 10 largest cities in America, GHSA said pedestrian fatalities inched higher, including Houston (60 to 62) and Dallas (41 to 56).

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April 2017 Newsletter: Flip the Conversation: Speak Up When Others Around You Are Distracted

Our Driving Concern Program Manager Lisa Robinson speaks to issues and concerns all employers face when trying to make their workforce safe on the road:

When you next talk about distracted driving with your employees, try a new approach. Think of driver distraction in a global sense. And think of breaking from the norm. Think of empowering you employees to hold co-workers accountable. Encourage them to speak up and say something to their co-worker, especially when the co-worker’s choice is one that puts them or others in harm’s way.

Q: What types of things distract drivers?

A: Newspapers spread over the dash and audio books. Yes. Personal grooming, including applying mascara and brushing teeth while behind the wheel. You bet. Social media, including Facebook and the streaming of videos. Yep. Hot coffee, messy burgers. Yikes! Anything that takes your attention away from focusing on the road is a distraction.

Continue reading April 2017 Newsletter: Flip the Conversation: Speak Up When Others Around You Are Distracted

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March 2017 Safety Coach: Address Driver Behavior with a Work Challenge

Safety Coach

If you ever have wondered why people say nothing good happens late at night, consider this:

In Texas, more fatal crashes occur between the hours of 9 p.m. and 3 a.m. than at any other time of the day. What about crash frequency during the week? Or in a given month of the year?

Can you guess the three deadliest days on state roads? If you guessed Friday, Saturday and Sunday, you would be correct and you probably would not be surprised. But did you know the month of March is full of madness?

To be clear, this has nothing to do with a crazy finish to an even crazier basketball game. Rather, it has everything to do with spring break and the three leading causes of traffic fatalities – alcohol, distraction and speeding. I see the light bulb going off as you process this information.

Continue reading March 2017 Safety Coach: Address Driver Behavior with a Work Challenge

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