Young people are not as invincible as they appear. According to a study by the CDC, in a span of just seven years (2003 to 2010), a total of 843 employees aged 16 to 24 were involved in fatal motor vehicle accidents. That number accounted for about 22% of all workplace deaths in that age group. Overall, teens and young adults lead all other age brackets in terms of motor vehicle crash rates. Those figures have led to calls for stricter rules. However, rules have always been in place. For work related incidents, are employers themselves being loose on implementing certain motor vehicle policies?
It’s been clearly stated on the federal child labor law that workers under 18 years of age need to follow some very specific guidelines before they can be allowed to drive on the job. The topic itself is also covered on OSHA 10-hour course online, which is an excellent reference for OSHA policies and guidelines, and a great tool to reinforce workplace safety programs. After all, as the young age group indicate, many accidents are seemingly caused by lack of experience and awareness from the driver’s part.
Although the federal law allows young adult to drive, it can’t be helped that most of them still lack the maturity and driving experience of their older workmates. They’re also more inclined to display driving behaviors that put them in danger, such as neglecting to wear seat belts and driving while being distracted.
In order to address this, companies can be more assertive in monitoring their drivers and their equipment, and also become more consistent on implementing existing policies about motor vehicle safety. To give a few examples, the management can:
- Limit driving a motor vehicle to workers 18 years of age and older
- Develop, implement, and ensure company-wide compliance with written standard operating procedures (SOPs) for all vehicle operations.
- Provide a comprehensive and periodical driver training.
- Ensure that vehicles and other equipment are in excellent working condition.
- Encourage the drivers to take advantage of all the resources about road safety that’s available in the workplace.
If it’s absolutely necessary for your young employees to take the wheel, you must have them go through extensive training and be regularly evaluated by their supervisor. The worker must be well-informed of safety driving policies and must be aware of the consequences that can stem from non-compliance. If your organization has adapted in-vehicle telematics to track the driver’s performance, ensure that all employees are also given timely feedback that will help them address unsafe driving behaviors and bad habits.
The younger generation in your workforce can eventually become some of the most valuable assets of your company in the future. However, while they’re young or lacking in experience, it’s important to ensure that they are given all the guidance and safety measures that they’ll need so that they’ll be able to reach their full potential. In order to be the driving force to their success, an organization must actively and consistently participate in monitoring their development.