February 2021 Newsletter: Don’t Worry, We Got Your B-A-C!

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Commit to this Safety Play

The big game is over. The safety game continues, as always, only the stakes have been raised.

You win when you confront alcohol impairment head on at your location. Here’s why: Alcohol consumption among adults is considered normal activity. But what does that have to do with the workplace? Or employee safety? Alcohol misuse costs U.S. employers billions annually, factoring in items such as absenteeism, health complications, on-the-job injuries and other losses in productivity.

In a survey conducted by the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, 24% of workers admitted to drinking on the job in the last year, and 20% of employees said their safety and productivity were jeopardized by the drinking habits of their colleagues.

In America, nearly 30 people die in drunk-driving crashes every day, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. While that number has dwindled some in recent years, it still amounts to more than one senseless death every hour. Incidents of alcohol and drug abuse have increased during the pandemic. And that’s why it is so important for you to provide education, training and substance use treatment options as part of your overall health and wellness program.

TxODC has resources to support employer safety efforts. Download our Blood Alcohol Content Safety Huddle sheet to create a safety talk. Then, put your employees to the BAC Test. This free, online tool is designed to illustrate how long blood alcohol levels can remain elevated. You may be surprised. 

Even at low BAC levels, you begin to experience mental and physical declines, including lapses in judgment and lags in reaction time. Impairment begins with the first drink. You need to be sharp behind the wheel and at work. Learn what jobs tend to be most impacted by alcoholism. Talk about solutions to prevent driving impairment and share these reminders:

  • Plan ahead for a safe ride home before you go out
  • Appoint a designated driver; this is the person who has had zero drinks, not consumed the least
  • Call a cab or use a ride-share service

Don’t allow someone to drive if they have been consuming alcohol. Know this: You do not have to celebrate a return to normal by serving alcohol at your next company function or in-home gathering. You can serve mocktails instead and still have fun. Get recipes to make mocktails:

Often, what is learned at work is carried home. A safety program that targets impairment can work to protect your employees and their family members. Play this video at the start of a safety meeting: Party Dave. Download and share this video on your company’s intranet site: This is the Moment …

Be sure you commit to playing this safety game. A life could be riding in the balance.

Join Our Peer Group

How comprehensive is your driver and transportation safety program? Let me answer that question with another question: Is safety at your organization viewed as checking the box to be in compliance or as a way to protect your most valuable asset, the people who work at your company?

One of the best ways to find out if you are missing a nugget that can take you to that next level is to listen to your peers. Often, this is how we get our best ideas, right? I’m of the belief that it is always best to be looking for new methods, new ideas, new policies and new procedures. Making periodic modifications keeps your program from becoming stagnant, no matter if the industry is gas and oil-related or tied to the busing of school children. Driver and transportation safety is the same.

In the coming days, I’d like to challenge you to listen to two experts: Melinda Denton of Pioneer Natural Resources and Josh Rice of Klein Independent School District. The two will talk about what works for them in free online training sessions. Please join us:

  • Wednesday, Feb. 17 (10-10:30 a.m.): Reducing Risky Driving Behaviors through Driver Coaching: In-vehicle monitoring systems combined with driver coaching can prove useful in helping drivers develop and maintain good driving skills. In this session, Denton will share how to get more out of your driver program by monitoring, evaluating, coaching and rewarding.
  • Thursday, Feb. 25 (10-11 a.m.): Impactful Driver and Transportation Safety Presentation Tips for the Win! What makes your driver safety training powerful? Here, Rice will discuss proven techniques and share how to structure your driver training program to make it fun and useful. He also will share tips on how to evaluate your efforts.

Melinda Denton is one of my favorite people. She’s very innovative. She looks at her transportation safety program from all angles. She has developed ways to cope during the pandemic. She is all about driver safety. I know Josh Rice is a seasoned trainer who will have a number of impactful ideas that will work for those of you operating fleets or involved in providing public transportation.

Let us work together and go from good to great!