Safety Experts Urge Workplace Involvement to Reduce Crashes

The biggest threat to the lives of Minnesota workers comes from one of their most common activities: getting behind the wheel and driving.

In support of National Drive Safely Work Week, Oct. 4-8, the Minnesota Network of Employers for Traffic Safety (Minnesota NETS), the Minnesota Safety Council, and AAA Minnesota/Iowa are urging employers to promote simple steps that can help their employees reduce this risk.

"Traffic incidents are the leading cause of work-related deaths in Minnesota and the United States overall," said Lisa Kons, coordinator of Minnesota NETS and of traffic safety programs for the Minnesota Safety Council. "In addition to the human suffering that results, these crashes pose a huge financial burden for employers."

The annual costs to Minnesota employers for crash-related injuries on and off-the-job amount to $505,000,000, according to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety.

"Almost 40 percent of lost work hours are due to motor vehicle crashes," said Jeff Ogden, president of AAA Minnesota/Iowa. "By promoting something as simple as always buckling up, employers can help reduce their employees' risk of serious injury and death by 40 to 60 percent."

Additional key behaviors employers can target include traveling at a safe and legal speed, paying attention to the road and driving sober, Kons and Ogden said.

For more information about Drive Safely Work Week and resources for employers, including fact sheets, brochures and an online crash cost calculator, visit www.mnsafetycouncil.org/nets.

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