Thursday, April 18, 2024

Keeping employees safe on the road

There has never been a more important time for organisations to reduce risks among their driver employees, contractors and franchisees when the road is their workplace.

The boom in ridesharing, food delivery and parcel delivery services has seen more cars on the road for work purposes. Unsurprisingly, work-vehicle-related fatalities are also on the rise (Safe Work Australia).

Now, a safety leader from a national parcel delivery service offers a timely guide to ensure businesses maximise the health, safety and wellbeing of their drivers when on the road.

Phil Reid is COO and head of the driver safety program at leading parcel delivery service CouriersPlease (CP), which manages a fleet of up to 1200 franchisee and delivery partner vehicles.

“Organisations and business leaders have the crucial responsibility to provide driver safety education and refresher training to their employees who are on the road – even for the most experienced drivers,” he says.

“Ultimately, good safety is not just about rules – it is about our people arriving home safely.”

Mr Reid shares the following tips and insights to help organisations keep their drivers safe on the road when working.

Ensure drivers can recognise signs of fatigue and are well rested

Staying hydrated, getting fresh air, and going on walks to realign their spine are simple solutions drivers can incorporate into their daily routine to combat fatigue.

Have drivers remove distractions and avoid multitasking

“If your driver workforce uses navigation and music, ask them to set this up before driving, and have them keep mobile phones and scanner devices in a cradle,” Mr Reid says.

“It is also a good idea for drivers to set up Bluetooth for calls, and to only answer their phone when safe.”

Create procedures around COVID-safe practices and good general hygiene

Organisations could formalise driver hygiene processes and procedures of their vehicle, and have a focus on high-touch surfaces such as the steering wheel, seatbelt, gear stick and indicators.

Educate drivers on adjusting their driving to different conditions

In busy and built-up conditions, drivers should aim to keep a one-car gap when waiting at the lights or stopped in traffic. In rural areas, they should be alert for wildlife, debris from other cars on the road and potholes.

Drivers should be more cautious when working at dawn, dusk and night. During heavy rain or in the case of hail, they should consider pulling over into a safe shoulder or rest stop.

Encourage drivers to take care of their body by stretching, having breaks, and adjusting seats

Drivers can improve their overall wellbeing and performance by scheduling in regular five-to-10-minute breaks and micro-stretch sessions every two to three hours in their shift.

Ensure drivers are aware of risks when parking and stopping in unfamiliar locations

Mr Reid advises drivers to look out for unsteady ground, unexpected parking barriers, pedestrians, and tight parking spaces. They shouldn’t rely on reverse cameras and, if unsure when reversing, always follow the GOAL rule – Get Out And Look.

Consider reminding drivers to upkeep vehicles regularly

Organisations could send drivers regular reminders on oil and filter changes to ensure a vehicle’s engine continues to run smoothly and regularly check tyre pressure to ensure good handling, steering, and safety.

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