ASSE Warns of Hidden Costs of Traffic Crashes

Traffic\r\ncrashes not only cause severe pain, suffering and destruction, but\r\nare also a major occupational safety and bottom line concern, said ASSE.

The No. 1 cause of on-the-job deaths is traffic crashes. Traffic crashes not only cause severe pain, suffering and destruction, but are also a major occupational safety and bottom line concern, according to the American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE).

In an effort to raise awareness of on-the-job traffic crashes, ASSE is supporting this week''s fourth annual Drive Safely Work Week.

"We have joined with the Network of Employers for Traffic Safety (NETS), AAA, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and UPS in supporting this campaign aimed at raising awareness of traffic safety in the workplace," said ASSE President Samuel J. Gualardo, CSP. "ASSE believes that employers must address this issue for many reasons including the negative impact it has on the injured workers, fellow workers and the overall bottom line."

For instance, ASSE points out that hidden accident costs can include:

  • cost of lost time of the injured workers;
  • cost of lost time by other employees who stop out of sympathy to assist the injured employee or from curiosity;
  • cost of lost time by the foreman, supervisor or other executives while assisting the injured employee and investigating the cause of the accident;
  • arranging for the injured employee''s work to be continued by another employee and training that employee;
  • incidental cost due to interference with production, failure to fill orders on time, loss of bonuses, payment of forfeits and other similar causes; and
  • cost of health care personnel time when not covered by insurance.

On-the-job traffic crashes cause 3,000 deaths per year, 332,000 injuries and cost employers more than $43 billion, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) figures, ranging from about $22,000 per crash and $110,000 per injury.

From an employer standpoint, ASSE urges occupational safety and health professionals to include traffic safety programs within their organization and include guidelines for both on- and off-the-job traffic and motor vehicle operations and conditions.

Upper-level management should be directly involved in all safety training programs and on- and off-the-job motor vehicle accident investigations.

ASSE also recommends that analyses of employee accidents, their causes and the prevention, and assessments of accident loss costs to both employees and employers be included in all safety programs.

Additionally, the association urges the motoring public to drive safely, be courteous, pay attention to the road, buckle up and avoid driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs.

"This is an extremely important issue to my organization and its employees," said James Stock, ASSE member and CSP. "We operate in several states which means a lot of us are on the road most of our working day where we often encounter drivers that are not paying attention, speeding, and driving under the influence, all of which are a major threat to the health of our employees. We urge people to not only drive safely during this special week in September, but all the time."

by Virginia Sutcliffe

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