On The Move – Road Safety Tips for Your Technicians
When your HVAC technicians aren’t running EverRest service calls in customer homes, they’re headed for their next stop. Keeping technicians safe behind the wheel isn’t just a matter of on-time service – it’s a matter of safety.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of work-related fatalities in the United States. In 2019 alone, motor vehicle crashes accounted for 24% of work-related deaths.
The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) said driver-safety programs save lives and protect against personal and business financial liabilities.
“Employees are an employer’s most valuable assets. Workplace driver safety programs not only make good business sense but also are a good employee relations tool, demonstrating that employers care about their employees,” OSHA said in its driver guidelines for employers.
OSHA recommends that businesses take actions to minimize crash risks, including:
- Developing policies and procedures
Write a clear and comprehensive approach that includes company guidelines and rules regarding vehicle usage and road safety. The information should consist of restrictions on in-vehicle cell phone and text use, zero tolerance for aggressive, impaired and distracted driving and rules for speed-limit adherence. Other topics to cover include seatbelt use and vehicle maintenance. Write the policies and procedures into a contract signed by all employees.
- Getting management involvement and employee buy-in
Look to your managers and trusted employees to establish the policies, provide leadership, allocate resources and encourage employee participation. Make safe driving part of your company’s culture.
- Establishing crash reporting and investigation protocols
Require employees to report all crashes, no matter the severity, to their supervisors as soon as possible. The crashes should be examined to determine the cause so similar problems can be avoided in the future.
- Checking employee driving history and creating disciplinary action procedures
Confirm employee driving records before employment and monitor records during employment to ensure adherence to company policies. Employees should be required to maintain a clean driving record with no moving violations or at-fault crashes. Develop disciplinary procedures that specify corrective actions for driving policy violations.
- Providing training and good-driving incentives
Periodic training provides all drivers with safe-driving skills and an opportunity to comply with company rules. In addition, incentives – such as recognitions or monetary awards – can help encourage safe driving.
In addition, some companies have taken further steps to encourage safe driving, including:
- Mounting front- or rear-facing dash cams to record incidents that happen both on the road and inside the vehicle
- Using vehicle tracking systems to monitor the vehicle’s location and movement
- Installing electronic logging devices to record driving times
- Utilizing vehicles with advanced driver’s safety features such as lane assist, blind-spot monitoring and automatic emergency braking
HVAC company owners should also provide technicians with the tools to have positive driving experiences, including well-maintained fleet vehicles, work schedules that adjust for inclement weather and ample drivetimes between calls. Technicians will arrive at homes unstressed, focused and ready to run the EverRest method.
“Your (road-safety) program should work to keep the driver and those with whom he/she shares the road safe. And, if necessary, the program must work to change driver attitudes, improve behavior and increase skills to build a “be safe” culture,” OSHA stated. “By instructing your employees in basic safe driving practices and then rewarding safety-conscious behavior, you can help your employees and their families avoid tragedy.”