Winter driving affects every employee in your organization. Whether you manage a fleet of vehicles, oversee a mobile sales force or employ commuters, you can greatly reduce the risks your employees and their families face by helping them learn and use best practices for driving during the snowy months ahead.
Winter is the most hazardous season on the roads, accounting for 24 percent of weather-related car accidents, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation. And with the National Safety Council reporting an average total cost per motor vehicle accident claim of more than $65,000, the human and financial toll on employers is significant.
Winter Driving Risk Management
Although employers cannot control roadway conditions, you can promote safe driving by ensuring your workers know the hazards of driving on snow- or ice-covered roads, properly train to drive in winter conditions and carry licenses for the vehicles they operate. For information about driving safely during the winter, visit OSHA’s Safe Winter Driving page.
Employers should set and enforce driver safety policies. Also, now’s the time to beef up your maintenance program for the company vehicles and mechanized equipment operated by your workers. Learn more at: Motor Vehicle Safety (OSHA Safety and Health Topic’s Page).
Vehicle Systems Working Properly?
Employers should ensure that trained workers inspect the following systems to make sure company vehicles (and private vehicles used for company business) perform properly during the winter season:
Brakes: Brakes should provide even and balanced braking. Also check the brake fluid level.
Cooling System: Ensure a proper mixture of 50/50 antifreeze and water in the cooling system at the proper level.
Electrical System: Check the ignition system and make sure that the battery is fully charged and that the connections
are clean. Check that the alternator belt is in good condition, with proper tension.
Engine: Inspect all engine systems.
Exhaust System: Check exhaust for leaks and ensure all clamps and hangers are snug.
Tires: Check for proper tread depth and for signs of damage or uneven wear. Ensure tires are properly inflated.
Oil: Check the oil level, and change the oil and oil filter if necessary.
Visibility Systems: Inspect all exterior lights, defrosters (windshield and rear
window) and wipers. Install winter windshield wipers.
Outfit Vehicles with Emergency Essentials
Vehicles should be outfitted with emergency kits that include the following items:
Cellphone or two-way radio
Windshield ice scraper
Extra windshield wiper fluid
Flashlight with extra batteries
Traction aids (bag of sand or granular cat litter)
Blankets, change of warm clothes
For more information on shoring up winter driving safety at your organization, visit the Resources web page at Pinnacol.com. Additional resources are available on the website pages of the Occupational Safety & Health Administration, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and National Safety Council. Or call Pinnacol’s Safety On Call hotline at 303-361-4700 or 888-501-4752. Our safety services team stands ready to answer questions and help keep your workforce safe behind the wheel this winter.