October 2020 Safety Coach: Bring Out Your Halloween Safety Magic

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Safety Coach
Recognize the Signs

During the COVID-19 pandemic, some of your employees likely have experienced increased levels of stress or anxiety, both in their work environment and home life. No doubt, some have used over-the-counter or prescription medications to treat these symptoms.

In our next session of Drug Impairment Training for Texas Employers (DITTE), we’ll talk about how the use of opioids and central nervous system depressants and stimulants can become safety issues for employers – and not only those with professional drivers. We’ll examine a case involving death benefits and the long-lasting impact on an employee’s family.

Register now to attend Thursday, Oct. 22 (9-10:30 a.m.): DITTE Deep Dive: Opioids CNS Depressants/Stimulants.

Employers can improve workplace safety by implementing strong impairment policies and drug panel testing programs that include an option for detecting opioids. Employers also can protect employees by learning to recognize signs and symptoms of impairment that can compromise workplace and transportation safety.

We’ll talk about how taking these steps can ensure a safe work environment and reduce employee turnover rates. We think you will find this discussion is more relevant now than ever, and you will want to put these free resources to use:

Transportation safety incidents are costly, regardless of whether they involve injuries.

Tailgate Talk
No Need to Be Stranded

Three questions I like to ask when I talk with people about their transportation safety program: Why are you doing it? Is it effective? How do you know?

The answer to that first question is easy:

  • Transportation incidents are the leading cause of work-related fatalities
  • Most employees drive to and from work
  • A variety of industries require employees to drive or be exposed to hazards associated with driving
  • Roadways and work zones are likely the most dangerous environments people from all walks of life encounter on an everyday basis

I dig deeper in this recorded training session: Tips for Building a Comprehensive Transportation Safety Program.

I touch on the root cause of most crashes, human error. The most common errors drivers make include:

  • Not being fully engaged with driving as the primary task
  • Missing road hazards or detecting them too slowly
  • Driving in a distracted or altered state, such as having inadequate sleep, being distracted by a phone or driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol

All crashes are costly, whether anyone is injured or not. In fact, U.S. employers spend billions on costs associated with crashes every year, including those that occur off the job and involve employee family members. Employers do not want to risk increased liability exposure. That is why it is so important for company safety leaders to examine their transportation safety programs and determine whether they are effective. They need to make their programs consistent and ongoing, while targeting 100% of employees.

I hear people say: “We’ve always done it this way.” I think: “That’s the most dangerous phrase in the English language.” And I ask: “How’s that working for you?”

I outline ways for you to empower employees so they become a part of your transportation safety program, rather than dodging it because they view transportation safety as drudgery. I talk about how you need to document incidents, investigate crashes and use data to make informed decisions.

Safety is everyone’s responsibility. Management support is a must. All employees should be included in consistent and ongoing communications. I like to call it the three E’s: Engage, Educate, Equip. Use visual aids and make safety fun by introducing items like online games, which  increase participation and create a sense of competition. Furthermore, research shows “gamification” is a good way to boost retention of knowledge.

Three more items I touch on in this recording:

  • Policies and procedures: These need to be clearly spelled out and enforced
  • Discipline action strategy: Find out what other like-organizations are doing and follow their best practices
  • Reward/incentive program: Recognize individuals as safety leaders

In these times, many are taking a hard look at their health and wellness programs. They’re finding transportation safety is another way to positively affect the bottom line while protecting their most important asset, their employees.