Workplace safety is a serious issue for all kinds of businesses. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) was established specifically to help address issues pertaining to workplace safety to help both workers and their employers realize safer working conditions.
However, the United States Department of Labor (DOL) doesn’t just enforce safety guidelines and regulations in traditional workplace settings like an office, manufacturing plant, or a store. Workplace safety is a key concern even on the road!
Creating (and enforcing) strong safety guidelines for employees who aren’t in a central location like an office can be difficult, however. After all, it isn’t like you can be in every car/truck/van/etc. that your organization uses! This is where telematics solutions (like vehicle or personal GPS tracking devices) can help.
Why should you be concerned about having strong safety guidelines? How can telematics help with enforcing safety regulations? What are the benefits of having a safe working environment?
Why Strong Safety Guidelines Matter
There are many reasons why it’s important to create and enforce strong rules to maintain employee safety.
The first reason is because it’s important for meeting OSHA’s requirements. Failing to follow basic employee and workplace safety guidelines can lead to fines and other sanctions against your business. This can put a heavy burden on your budget and disrupt operations—so avoiding this by focusing on following safety guidelines and regulations is a must.
Another reason why safety matters is that it can be crucial for avoiding a loss of productivity. If one of your company’s fleet vehicles is involved in an accident on the road, then your company will lose out on all of the productivity that vehicle could have generated until a replacement can be acquired (not to mention any equipment that might have been damaged).
Worse yet, potential employee injuries could put dedicated and hard-working team members out of work for extended periods of time—causing a long-term drop in productivity. If the employee is permanently lost, it will take time for a replacement to achieve the same level of proficiency with their work.
Finally, putting strong safety guidelines and controls in place is crucial for avoiding potential accusations of negligence. When workplace safety tools and guidelines are lacking, there’s an increased risk of being subjected to lawsuits and having your company’s name dragged through the proverbial mud. Having safety guidelines that are backed by an extensive set of workplace safety tools help to prevent incidents and protect your company’s image.
How to Use Telematics to Improve Safety
So, how can telematics help your company improve workplace safety outside of the office? Here are a few ways to use telematics solutions (like personal tracking devices or vehicle-mounted GPS devices) to enforce safety guidelines:
- Tracking Driving Habits. How fast are your employees driving? Are they hitting the brakes hard too often? Tracking harsh driving habits, like hard acceleration and braking, can be a crucial tool for improving safety. Backed by telematics data, it’s possible to identify dangerous driving and take steps to correct these behaviors before they lead to an accident.
- Watching for Unauthorized Activity. Are company vehicles being abused for non-work activities that not only add wear and tear, but increase the risk of being involved in an accident? Using GPS tracking solutions with geofencing allows you to quickly identify if and when vehicle assets are being taken “out of bounds” so you can take measures to prevent unauthorized activity.
- Ensuring Vehicles Are Properly Maintained. Regular maintenance is crucial for the safe operation of vehicles and heavy equipment. With telematics data, you can track how long it has been since a vehicle was last serviced—and even collect vehicle diagnostic codes to identify potential issues early. This helps improve safety and prevent costly equipment failures.
Benefits of Strong Employee Safety Guidelines
Aside from avoiding problems with regulators, what benefits are there to enforcing strong safety guidelines?
- Keeping Insurance Premiums Low. Business insurance—especially insurance that covers vehicle replacements and worker injuries—isn’t cheap. However, when an organization has a high safety incident rate, the cost of insurance premiums can shoot through the proverbial roof. Strong workplace and employee safety measures help keep incident rates low—which also helps keep premiums down.
- Avoiding Large Vehicle/Equipment Repair and Replacement Costs. Vehicular accidents can lead to enormous repair/replacement bills. By enacting strong safety measures, and enforcing them, you can prevent accidents and the repair/replacement costs they incur.
- Increasing Worker and Equipment Uptime. Injured workers and damaged equipment can’t effectively contribute to your company’s bottom line. By increasing safety, you can help ensure that workers (and fleet vehicles) spend less time sidelined by safety incidents and more time helping earn revenue for the company.
- Protecting Your Company’s Image. Organizations with a high number of safety incidents may find themselves facing public sanctions. Publicly-available reports like the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA’s) Compliance, Safety, and Accountability (CSA) report make it easy for potential clients/customers to learn about your company’s safety record. Having high safety standards backed by strong employee safety assurance tools can help keep your record clean—helping to attract customers who want reliable services.
Need help enforcing safety guidelines? Reach out to Rastrac to learn more about vehicle and personal tracking devices—as well as how to use them!
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