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Work pressure threatening safety

Work pressure threatening safety

As the economy recovers from the consequences of lockdown, employees are facing more pressure than ever before to make up for lost time and play their role in their organisation’s recovery. Conversely, their clients face similar pressures and the expectation for instant communication is growing.

The managing director of MasterDrive, Eugene Herbert, says the difficulty with this is that more pressure is placed on fleets or sales teams to respond to their clients immediately, even if they are driving. “Consequently, organisational policies that advocate against cellphone use while driving become very difficult to follow when faced with this level of pressure.

“According to an international study conducted by the National Safety Council, 46% of drivers read or send emails while driving. The study also revealed that 62% of drivers are actually willing to obey distracted driving laws if they did not face this pressure. These stats suggest organisations need to do more to remove the pressure and implement policies and strategies that help drivers manage demands effectively but safely.”

Herbert recommends the following

  1. Implement a workplace safety culture: create a workplace culture that has zero tolerance for the use of phones while driving. Build this stance into all aspects of the workplace from employment contracts, to educational material to safety events that demonstrate first-hand the dangers of distracted while driving (DWD).
  1. Be aware of your team’s movement: keep track of your driver’s movements and if you know that someone may be on the road, avoid calling or emailing them. If it can wait the 20 to 30 minutes that they will take to arrive at their destination, rather do that. Encourage your entire team to pay the same consideration to their fellow co-workers.
  1. Invest in driver training: even if you are successful in stopping your own drivers from using their phones behind the wheel, they will inevitably encounter another driver doing this. Driver training teaches drivers what to do when they encounter erratic drivers and what to do to remove themselves from this dangerous situation.
  1. Take the option away: invest in new technology that removes the ability to irresponsibly use one’s phone all together. If the temptation is not there, drivers will not fall victim to DWD.

Do not wait for an employee to be involved in a crash or experience a near-miss to drive the message home. “Use whatever resources are available to strongly discourage, or preferably, make DWD impossible. Many drivers show little regard for the road regulations that attempt to prevent distracted driving, thus making it imperative that your organisations play a role as well,” says Herbert.