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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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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July 2017 Newsletter: Our Driving Concern is Your Drafting Tool for Writing Traffic Safety Book

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:

At Our Driving Concern, we work with employers to promote safe driving practices among their employees, both on and off the job.

Q: Still, I am asked from time-to-time, what exactly is this program and what is it about?

A: Think of Our Driving Concern as your table of contents and you are writing the book that goes with the table of contents. We provide the framework and resources for you to develop a traffic safety program at your workplace at no cost. Our materials are designed to fit nearly every situation and nearly every work environment – big, small, public and private.

From Our Driving Concern, everybody can find tools to put in their toolbox. The aim is to address transportation safety in the workplace and to reach 100% of your employees. You have the ability to take the materials and make them meet your needs. We update materials and produce new resources on a regular basis, including our eNewsletters, webinars, on-line learning modules, safety coach cards and print materials.

Continue reading July 2017 Newsletter: Our Driving Concern is Your Drafting Tool for Writing Traffic Safety Book

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June 2017 Newsletter: Training Equips You to Incorporate Traffic Safety at Your Organization

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: After I attend an Our Driving Concern train-the-trainer workshop, am I certified or endorsed by the National Safety Council?

A: The short answer is, “No.” The training equips you to go back to your company and incorporate transportation safety in an on-going manner. The goal is to provide you with assistance to promote safe driving behaviors. Crashes, whether they occur on or off the job, are costly for any organization.

Moving forward, this training most likely will get a new name and simply be called “Our Driving Concern Training” instead of the current title, Train-the-Trainer, due to the confusion it seems to cause. The training is simply that – training.

Continue reading June 2017 Newsletter: Training Equips You to Incorporate Traffic Safety at Your Organization

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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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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).

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

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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

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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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February 2017 Safety Coach: Don’t Hold Your Breath Waiting for Autonomous Vehicles


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To prepare your workforce for the rollout of partially and fully autonomous vehicles, it would be helpful to share some of what is going on right now in the fast-paced world of motor vehicle development.

Did you know a self-driving 18-wheeler is being tested in San Antonio?

Then, it would be helpful to review some of the safety features that already are commonplace in vehicles on our roads today. It’s a win-win for Texas employers. Traffic safety is one of the best ways to save money and save lives.

Continue reading February 2017 Safety Coach: Don’t Hold Your Breath Waiting for Autonomous Vehicles

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