October 2017 Safety Coach: There is a Time and Place for Riding Off into the Sunset

Safety Coach

Drivers and passengers are three to 10 times more likely to be killed in crashes in

rural areas vs. urban environments, according to a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The proximity of trauma care is one reason. Another: Seat belt use is lower in rural areas.

CDC found 61% of drivers and passengers killed in America’s most rural counties were not wearing seat belts at the time of the crash. In Texas, about 92% of drivers and passengers buckle up, a dramatic increase from 76% when the Texas Department of Transportation first launched its Click It or Ticket program in 2002.

Still, TxDOT reports more than 43% of people killed in crashes statewide were not properly restrained in 2016. And it’s not just pickup truck drivers involved in incidents on country roads. Three out of four kids are not buckled correctly. Make a connection with your employees by sharing TxDOT’s child protection resources.

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October 2017 Newsletter: Crash Rates Three Times Higher at Night

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:

Q: What contributes to nighttime driving issues?

A: A driver’s field of vision can be narrowed to include only areas illuminated by headlights and fixed road lights. Depth perception and peripheral vision can be compromised. And then, there is fatigue.

Fatigue is caused by sleep-deprivation, time-on-task tedium and body-clock disruption. All can be factors leading to drowsy driving. The ability to sustain attention, see and react to hazards dips when drivers are drowsy. In a National Safety Council survey, one in five working Americans admitted to falling asleep while driving in the past month.

October is a good time to talk about risks associated with night driving and pedestrian safety because the month typically is reserved for fall festivals and Halloween activities and concludes as daylight savings time nears an end. Your drivers and employees will be driving during more in the dark.

Continue reading October 2017 Newsletter: Crash Rates Three Times Higher at Night

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September 2017 Safety Coach: Why It’s Important to Secure Your Cargo Before Departing

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In the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, many Texans will be hauling loads during a massive rebuild, either as a job-related function or as one friend helping another.

One way to connect with your workforce during this difficult time is to talk about the importance of properly securing loads. Our Safety Huddle resources provide talking points on a variety of traffic safety issues, including securing your load.

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September 2017 Newsletter: New Tool: Calculate the Cost of Substance Use at Your Workplace

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:

During a 10-year period, the number of drivers under the influence of prescription opioids who were killed in crashes increased more than seven-fold, according to research published in the American Journal of Public Health.

Q: Do you understand how use of prescription drugs can threaten safety at your organization and impact your bottom line?

A: Don’t be too quick to say yes. In a survey conducted by the National Safety Council, 39% of employers viewed prescription drug use as a threat to safety, and just 24% said it was a problem, even though seven in 10 companies reported issues ranging from absenteeism to overdose.

Researchers at Columbia University found that the prevalence of drivers with prescription opioids detected in their systems at the time of death surged from 1% in 1995 to 7.2% in 2015, according to a news report. Three ways employers can protect themselves and their employees:

  • Enact strong company drug policies
  • Expand drug panel testing to include opioids
  • Train supervisors and employees to spot the first signs of drug misuse

Continue reading September 2017 Newsletter: New Tool: Calculate the Cost of Substance Use at Your Workplace

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

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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.

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

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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

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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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