November 2020 Newsletter: Turkey, Stuffing and Safety

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Award Applications

Transportation safety in the workplace is key. Occupationally, transportation incidents are a leading cause of fatalities. Fatalities are one piece. Employer costs extend to lost productivity, bent metal costs, the impact on fringe benefits, legal costs, citations and more.

At the Shell Exploration and Production Company, workers stay in resident camps rather than drive back and forth from Houston to Midland, a trip of 475 miles one way. This is one example of how company leaders manage fatigue to maximize safety.

Shell’s road safety efforts, along with those of 11 other 2020 Our Driving Concern Texas employer traffic safety award recipients, are recapped in our best-practice brochure here. Check out these highlights:

  • The City of Arlington reduced auto liability claim expenditures by $414,882
  • The Port of Corpus Christi Authority launched a pilot safe driving program and decreased its number of vehicle incidents by 71%
  • Texas Mutual Insurance Company employees, by modeling the safe driving solutions they share with policyholders and community leaders, increased their safe driving score from 90 to 94.5 and reduced preventable crashes by 61%

The common bond between these safety standouts? They have all worked with National Safety Council and Our Driving Concern staff members as part of an ongoing commitment to occupational driver transportation safety. Now, let’s turn the page and start to think about recognizing Texas employer transportation safety leaders in 2021.

  • Any Texas employer is eligible. Anyone may nominate an employer, and self-nominations are accepted. Employers may be municipal, corporate, private or not-for-profit, small or large.
  • There are three categories for recognition: exemplary award recipient, award recipient and honorable mention.
  • The deadline to submit an online nomination is Feb. 15, 2021. Nominate an employer now.

To find out more about previous Our Driving Concern traffic safety award recipients, watch highlight videos and review our annual best-practice brochures here. Get ideas on what your company can do and ideas on how to complete your own application for recognition.

The arrival of fall means more driving during hours of darkness.

Fall Back on Safety

In recent years, alcohol-impaired driving incidents have declined, but drugged driving incidents have increased. During the COVID-19 pandemic, drivers impaired by prescription medications and other drugs have contributed to crash fatality rates that have spiked in the U.S. despite lower traffic volume.

As we “fall back” to shorter days and more driving in the dark, this is a good time to address risks such as fatigue, compromised vision and impairment.

Research from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration shows:

  • Impaired drivers are most frequently on the road between midnight and 3 a.m. on weekends
  • The rate of fatal crashes involving alcohol-impairment is nearly four times higher at night than during the day
  • Drowsy-driving crashes occur most frequently between midnight and 6 a.m.

Share these seven safety tips – one for each day of the week – to reduce crash risk and liability exposure. Be creative. Post the tips in the safety section on your company’s intranet site, send in e-blasts to your staff or pin them to bulletin boards at your locations.

  1. Alcohol: Never drink and drive, no matter what time of day it is. If you’re going out, plan ahead for a safe ride home. Appoint a designated driver or use a ride-share service.
  2. Fatigue: Adults need seven to nine hours of sleep to reach peak performance levels. If you feel tired, pull over in a rest area, drink coffee or another caffeinated beverage, or stop for the night.
  3. Medications: If you’re taking prescription medications, consult with your doctor or pharmacist before driving. Some medications can cause drowsiness, dizziness or blurred vision.
  4. Driving in darkness: Clean your windshield, avoid a “fixed” gaze so as not to stare at oncoming headlights, be sure your own headlights are clean and angled correctly to illuminate the road, and watch for wildlife. (Collisions with deer typically occur at dusk or in the dark.)
  5. Travel speed: Slow down. Speeding-related crashes account for nearly one in four nighttime driving fatalities.
  6. Vision: The older you get, the more difficult it can be to see at night. In fact, a 50-year-old driver might need twice as much light to see as well as a 30-year-old, according to the American Optometric Association. Schedule an annual eye exam.
  7. Distraction: Before you depart, silence your phone, set your GPS and pick a radio station or music playlist.

Add a few of our free Our Driving Concern and Drug Impairment Training for Texas Employers safety posters to bring your display to life, or use one of our Safety Huddle sheets to create a safety talk:

Consider signing up your safety leaders to attend free impairment and driver safety virtual trainings. Free is the right price! There is no one right answer, but consistent and ongoing reinforcement of safety is a ticket to success.

No matter how you choose to share these tips and free resources, know this: Your ongoing efforts will demonstrate that you care about your employees’ safety this fall and winter.