Fall is here, and winter is not far behind. For most of the country, as road conditions and visibility worsen, parking lots and walkways become ice rinks, and the air fills with cold and flu viruses, the risk of vehicle crashes, work-related injuries, and lost work time due to illness increases with each. Now is the time to start preparing for these hazards to avoid business interruptions and keep your employees safe and healthy through the winter months.
The risk of a rear-end, and/or loss-of-control crash can increase with adverse conditions. As black ice, freezing rain, and snow make the roads more treacherous, be sure to educate drivers on recognizing these hazards and taking the appropriate precautions. For starters, try Great West’s Value-Driven™ Driving! The “Preventing Rear-End Crashes” module focuses on how to calculate proper following distance and to reduce the distractions that can lead to these types of losses. Likewise, the “Preventing Loss of Control Crashes” module explains the factors that increase the likelihood of jackknifes, rollovers, lane departures and steer tire blowouts. Value-Driven™ Driving and other crash prevention videos are available in the Learning Library.
With regards to injury prevention, have all employees view the “Slips, Trips, and Falls” module in Value-Driven™ Life. This module is also available in the Learning Library and addresses hazards around the truck, shop, and terminal associated with slippery walking surfaces, potholes, and improper footwear. Be sure to discuss the risk of frostbite, hypothermia, and heart attacks caused b cold snaps that can increase blood pressure.
Employee health and wellness is another issue. As days start to get shorter, one risk that everyone faces is Winter Depression, or Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). According to WebMD, “The winter symptoms of people with SAD have many of the normal warning signs of depression, including: less energy, trouble concentrating, fatigue, greater appetite, increased desire to be alone, greater need for sleep, and weight gain. Each of these symptoms can factor into vehicle crashes, work-related injuries, and health issues. Some suggestions to combat this are to encourage employees get outside more during the daylight hours, promote healthy eating habits, avoid caffeine, exercise regularly, and get plenty of rest.
Winter is coming, and hopefully, it will be a light one, but motor carriers can make the best of it by taking proactive measures now to help employees increase their focus and alertness on the job. These efforts can go a long way to reducing losses due to vehicle crashes and injuries as well as absenteeism caused by the winter blahs and those frustrating cold and flu symptoms.
If you have any questions on the above article, please contact Great West Casualty Company by clicking below. If you need to request a quote for trucking insurance, click here or need to find an agent, click here.