April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month. Who knew? While I personally think many of these “awareness” months, weeks and days get lost in the shuffle, this one addresses a personal pet peeve of mine, so let’s talk about it. Do you have a policy to keep your employees off their phones while they are behind the wheel? Should you? The Department of Labor says yes.
According to a blog on the DOL website, traffic crashes are the number one workplace killer. Since cell phones are involved in more than a quarter of all crashes, this is probably something employers should consider. According to the DOL a best practice cell phone policy covers all employees, both handheld and hands-free devices, company vehicles, company cell phones and all work-related communications.
I can hear the complaints already… I just can’t be productive without using the phone on the run… it’s just the way business works these days… we’ll fall behind if we ban phones in company cars. The DOL highlights two big employers who proved that safety doesn’t have to cost your profits. The CEO of Owens Corning went a full 90 days without using his phone in his car (not even hands-free) before asking his employees to do the same. He said if he could do it without affecting productivity, so could everyone else. Diesel engine giant Cummins shifted its work patterns so sales people could schedule calls during stops. They also changed the way they dispatch technicians so they didn’t have to use their phones while driving.
If you are an EBI client, you know we talk a lot about the importance of having strong policies on everything from background screening to drug testing and Adverse Action. These policies are the glue that keeps your HR department strong and protect you from all kinds of legal action… especially negligent hiring. While cell phone use is out of our sphere of influence, those negligence fears are a real issue. The National Safety Council has created a Cell Phone Policy Kit, click here to take a look. A little effort could end up saving one of your employees’ lives… and if your company is anything like EBI… that’s like saving a member of your family.