Falling off a ladder or getting caught in machinery are probably what most people think of when they imagine workplace injuries. They may not think of employees getting injured while driving for work.
Pinnacol Assurance is Colorado’s top workers’ compensation insurance provider. Pinnacol’s data found auto accidents were the cause of four in ten worker deaths over the last five years. The numbers also showed work injuries are down significantly in Colorado, but auto accident claims remain high.
Some professions are more at risk
Certain professionals are more likely to get involved in an auto accident. Automotive workers, chauffeurs, health care workers, messengers, law enforcement and truck drivers have the highest risk of getting into a workplace vehicle accident. However, even an administrative assistant grabbing coffees for the office can get into a crash.
Wear a seat belt
Not wearing a seat belt is part of the problem. More than one-fourth of the fatal accidents involved a person who did not have his or her seat belt on. Wearing a seat belt keeps you from being projected out of the vehicle or from colliding with other parts of the vehicle. It also slows your body down, since it is traveling at the same speed as the vehicle when the accident occurs.
Keep your eyes on the road
Distracted driving also remains a serious concern in workplace accidents. A driver who sends a text message takes his or her eyes off the road for about five seconds. If you are driving at the speed of 55 mph, you will have travelled about the length of a football field without knowing what is in front of you. Phones are not the only distraction though. Drivers could be distracted by eating, drinking, changing the music or their GPS.
You can avoid cellphone distraction by placing your phone out of sight while driving. There are even apps that prevent you from using your phone while driving. You should also avoid eating or drinking while on the road.
Drive slower on slippery roads
Driving carefully on snow and ice is also important. Drivers should accelerate and decelerate gradually. When you are driving on snow or ice, increase your following distance to eight to ten seconds. This will give you more time to react on slippery roads. If you can avoid coming to a full stop, try to do so to prevent skidding.
Pinnacol recommends all employees who drive for work should be taught defensive driving techniques. Employers should also preach the importance of seat belt use and the dangers of distracted driving.