Anyone who sits in the driver’s seat of a vehicle is at risk of becoming distracted while driving. That means distracted driving is a potentially major safety issue in workplaces in almost every single industry.
The problems of distracted driving are well known, and safety professionals have run countless anti-distracted driving campaigns in an effort to keep their workers safe. But after a couple of years, these types of initiatives can often lose traction.
Here are three ways to use a free safety guide on distracted driving to breathe additional life into your distracted driving interventions or to develop new initiatives that can keep workers safer behind the wheel.
Build toolbox talks
Distracted driving is often the result of complacency. After spending countless hours behind the wheel, drivers can become quite comfortable, and that high degree of habituation can lead to folks going on autopilot. When that happens, the risks of driving seem less prevalent, the likelihood of an incident starts appearing to be low, and drivers start letting their guard down. At that point, an incident is often waiting just around the corner.
One tried-and-true way to fight back against complacency in the workplace is by delivering toolbox talks. They’re a great way to spotlight specific safety issues and encourage safer actions. And after all, complacency can affect pretty much every single safety issue, from distracted driving to complacent hazcom practices.
But even though toolbox talks can combat complacency, they can also fall victim to complacency too. If you don’t keep them fresh and engaging then they can actually reinforce the sense of complacency and familiarity that they were supposed to mitigate.
Fortunately, this guide on distracted driving safety can offer new angles and different materials to help you build better driving-related toolbox talks. Whether it’s talking about shifting risk perception to the overlooked dangers of cognitive overload and mental distraction, this guide can help you whip up a potentially exciting driving toolbox talk.
Bring supervisors up to speed
Safety-focused organizations know that crew leaders and other frontline supervisors can play a massive role in determining safety outcomes for their workers. That’s true in a general sense—how well your supervisors can use soft skills to engage workers has a direct connection with how safe those workers are. It’s also true in issue-specific contexts too. If you want people to be safer when they’re driving then you need to make sure your team leaders have a good understanding of the issue first.
The driving safety guide that was noted above can offer a couple of different opportunities for supervisors. First, it can provide them with a good primer on distracted driving that goes beyond the basics. The guide explains to them how human factors like complacency work for drivers and how the brain works when it comes to distraction. In this way, it provides a surprisingly robust tour of a complicated issue.
Second, it gives safety folks an informal checklist they can use to determine whether their organization’s supervisors have a sufficient understanding of the issue in order to support workers to be safe and to intervene when they need to. If the company’s frontline leaders appear to fall short, it might mean that supervisor-specific safety training may be in order.
Make the case for human factors training
Once complacency sets in, it can be quite challenging to deal with. Even skilled supervisors may have a hard time improving safety outcomes if workers have never been introduced to the concept of complacency—fatigue, rushing, or any other human factor that can exponentially increase the risk of a driving-related incident.
Often, the single most effective initiative that a safety professional can make is to implement human factors training. This type of training can quickly and efficiently educate workers on the ins and outs of how human factors work, while also giving them practical skills they can use to mitigate their effects when they’re driving.
One added benefit is that human factors skills are transferrable, which means that driving incidents will likely be reduced—and so will other safety issues outside the vehicle too. (Human factors skills also apply away from work, so if your organization is one of the many companies that recognizes the importance of off-the-job safety, human factors training will help there too.)
The safety guide on distracted driving can offer a ready-made case to senior executives as to why human factors training is such an essential step in reducing driving incidents. It provides a succinct and compelling case for how organizations can cut down on distraction behind the wheel and keep their people safer as a result. Savvy EHS professionals can use the guide to demonstrate to the company leadership why an investment in addressing human factors can lead to sustainable gains and long-term savings.