How to Keep Oil and Gas Employees Safe on the Road
As an oil and gas employer, safety is your number one priority. You understand the hazards your employees face on the worksite, and you do everything in your power to prevent any accidents.
Unfortunately, you can’t always sit in the car with your employees to ensure they’re driving safely. Since on-the-job motor vehicle accidents are common in the oil and gas industry, it’s essential to cover safe driving measures with your workforce.
There are many factors that can contribute to a car accident. For oil and gas workers, these factors include:
- Long distance travel required to get to and from pipelines, pumping stations, wells, etc.
- Exhaustion from long shifts
- Distracted driving, including texting or eating while driving (accounts for about 25% of all car accidents)
- Not wearing a seatbelt (only 11.9% of victims were known to have been wearing seatbelts)
Adding to the devastating consequences of car accidents are the high costs for employers. Vehicle accidents cost companies $60 billion a year in medical bills, legal expenses, property damage, and lost productivity.
To keep employees on the road and out of the hospital, employers should develop and implement an effective driver safety program. Here are some aspects to consider and get your program started.
Have the plan in writing. After developing the rules and policies for your driver safety program, make it official with a written statement. Post the policies in high-traffic areas of the workplace, distribute copies to employees, and discuss these new policies in company meetings or emails.
Create an employee contract. Having your employees sign a contract shows that they acknowledge the driver safety program and agree to follow the policies. If the contract is violated, you have their signature to support any consequences. It also shows that you value their own personal safety and want to ensure both parties are doing their part to stay safe.
Wear the seatbelt, put down the phone. No matter what else you choose to include in your program, at least have policies on seatbelts and distracted driving. Require drivers to wear seatbelts at all times, even if they’re staying on the worksite or not traveling far. You should also have a strict “hands on the wheel” policy, ensuring that drivers aren’t distracted by their phones or anything else while on the road.
Check driving records. If driving is going to be a function of the job, make sure to check the driving records of potential hires to prevent future accidents. Also stay compliant on certain DOT regulations and any special requirements drivers may have to reduce the risk of fines and impact to safety.
Maintain company vehicles. Show your employees that you’re doing your part to ensure safe driving by properly maintaining company vehicles. Schedule routine inspections and servicing to keep the vehicles in safe conditions.
Reward safe driving. Reward and incentive programs help positively influence the results of a safety program. Recognize your safe drivers for meeting predetermined goals or participating in programs.
Follow through with consequences. Employees who violate the safe driving policies should have to face repercussions. Clearly define the number of violations a driver can have before facing consequences, like losing driving privilege or attending required training. And then be sure to follow through on consequences to show your commitment to safety practices.
Implementing an effective driver safety program with these aspects could save your employees’ lives. Start looking through your accident log to determine what might be causing the most issues, and make sure to address those in your policies.
Need help getting started? Talk to one of Concentra’s workforce health experts to discuss your safety needs.