In our society, it is taken for granted that employers do everything possible to create a healthy and safe working environment. Safety measures, training, and inspections ensure that employees can work in a protected environment. But what about the safety of employees when they are on their way to work or travelling to clients? Isn't it time that we consider the societal responsibility of companies to keep their employees safe while participating in traffic?
A sprained ankle from a fall down the stairs, or a whiplash from a rear-end collision?
We get into our cars every day without realizing that the risk of accidents in traffic is generally greater than the risk of an accident in our workplace. Employers have a legal obligation, but more importantly, a moral obligation to ensure the safety of their employees, even beyond the boundaries of their premises. Therefore, it is only natural that we shift the focus from just the workplace to the entire journey that employees undertake to, during and from work.
An alarmingly high risk of traffic accidents
One of the main reasons why companies should take responsibility for the safety of employees in traffic is that the number of traffic accidents remains alarmingly high. According to the World Health Organization, traffic causes millions of deaths and injuries worldwide each year. These figures demonstrate an urgent need for a more holistic approach to safety, where companies not only focus on the workplace but also on the safety of employees during their commutes and business trips.
A defensive driving course paid for by the boss?
If you ask employers, they are aware of the risks of an unsafe workplace. Especially in the Western world, but fortunately also in emerging economies, investments in ensuring employee safety are high on the agenda. At the same time, there is often a lack of investments in safety solutions for employees who are on the road daily. A company that values the safety of its employees should consider taking measures such as providing safety information, promoting awareness of one's own driving behavior, discouraging smartphone use while driving, and facilitating traffic safety training. First aid training? A given. Defensive driving training? A rarity.
Using technology to enhance traffic safety
In addition to training and courses, companies can embrace technology to improve the safety of employees in traffic. Safety systems such as collision warning and emergency braking can significantly reduce the risk of accidents. Making safety packages mandatory on the lease list? A good idea. Linking insurance discounts to the presence of safety systems? Another great idea.
A small caveat
Vehicle safety technologies, despite many benefits, generally have a small disadvantage: they do not change driver behavior, which is where a lot can be gained. Creating awareness of how adjusting your behavior as a road user can make the traffic much safer for everyone is essential. And limiting the use of mobile phones while driving, well, that is truly a lifesaver. And if something does go wrong unexpectedly, the ability to act quickly is truly invaluable.