Whether you operate a logistics company with hundreds of vehicles, a construction company with a dozen trucks or a smaller nonprofit with just a few units, the automobiles in a fleet are a considerable investment. While a valuable and necessary resource, vehicles also present a risk of injury to employed drivers. So what can you do to drive down the workers’ compensation claims related to vehicular accidents?
1. ESTABLISH A STANDARD.
It’s probably obvious that you should be sure your driver has a legitimate driver’s license that allows them to operate the types of vehicles in your fleet. But what if they’re using their own vehicle? Make sure in advance that your employees are carrying what you determine to be adequate coverage. Employees should also be held responsible for keeping their personal vehicles inspected and registered.
2. REQUIRE TRAINING AND TESTING.
Whether it’s a large bus or a company van, approved drivers should be trained and tested. In addition to having the necessary licenses, drivers should be trained and tested on their physical ability and strength to handle escape doors and windows and help passengers evacuate safely in the event of an emergency.
3. PRIORITIZE SAFETY.
When it comes to your fleet, workers’ compensation claims don’t just come from vehicular accidents. Injuries resulting from faulty mechanisms or a slip and fall are common. Make sure that your drivers are utilizing best practices when it comes to themselves and passengers. Also make sure that your fleet is being carefully and regularly inspected to make sure all parts are working appropriately.
4. MIND YOUR SCHEDULE.
What can be just as dangerous as distracted driving is inconsistent scheduling. Driver fatigue is a major hazard and can be avoided by paying mind to your employees’ hours. Schedule changes are inevitable, but providing ample notice can also help employees to be better prepared for extra miles.
5. PREPARE YOUR DRIVERS.
Is there a protocol in place for when there’s a collision? Are they to report the accident to someone at your organization or the insurance company directly? What information are they responsible for gathering on the scene at the time an accident occurs? These are all questions that are important to consider. Provide your employees very clear instructions on your expectations of them as a driver.
6. CAPTURE THE MOMENT.
Was a collision caused by another vehicle or by your staff’s distracted driving? Installing a dash board camera and/or a camera on the inside of the vehicle makes the claim investigation much simpler. There’s less need to rely on memories or the “he said, she said” versions of multiple parties. Claims can be handled faster, meaning less money spent on lengthy investigations.
7. ENCOURAGE ERGONOMICS.
Your employees are also at risk for injuries that do not result from a collision. Drivers may experience back pain related to poor seating or road conditions. Wrist injuries may result from using levers to open and close doors or from keeping hands on the steering wheel in the same position over a period of time.
Whether it’s an initial risk analysis, finding gaps in your existing coverage or consulting with you to find the best product for your company, VFCA has the resources to help you protect your business, employees, vehicles and bottom line.