Seatbelt Policies

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The Importance of a Seatbelt Policy
Implementing and enforcing a seatbelt policy can save lives, minimize injuries and protect your company against financial losses.

Accident Costs Have a Snowball Effect
After an accident, most employers expect to see increases in workers compensation premiums and vehicle liability insurance costs. However, they don’t anticipate the many indirect costs such as hiring and training a replacement or covering sick leave.
 
According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA), a vehicle crash with non-fatal injuries costs an employer $68,100, while a fatal crash costs $1,290,400. 
 
The two primary areas where employers bear the costs of vehicle crashes are fringe benefit costs and non-fringe benefit costs. Fringe benefit costs are those paid as a result of an injury or fatality. Non-fringe benefit costs are more indirect costs, such as administrative costs, decreased productivity and replacement training.

Fringe benefits costs include:
  • Workers compensation insurance
  • Disability insurance
  • Health insurance
  • Sick leave
  • Social security disability insurance
  • Life insurance
 Non-fringe benefits costs include:
  • Motor vehicle property damage and liability insurance
  • Unreimbursed vehicle damage and replacements
  • Lower employee productivity
  • Hiring and or training a replacement for the worker
  • Time spent by other employees to run and process these programs
Seatbelt Policy Basics
A safe driving program including mandatory seatbelt use can save a lot of money. A report from the Network of Employers for Traffic Safety shows that for every million miles of company travel, a safety program can save $50,000.
 
Establish a Seatbelt Policy
Develop a strict seatbelt policy that includes training and awareness, enforcement, evaluation — and even employee incentives.
 
Create Seatbelt Usage Rules
Establish the details of your policy. Make sure it requires employees (both drivers and passengers) to buckle up 100% of the time. This policy should apply regardless of how big or small the vehicle or how quick the trip.
 
Make Training Mandatory
Even though your employees probably know how to properly fasten seatbelts, don’t leave it to chance. Train all employees on proper techniques for cars, pickups and any other vehicles your company operates. This training lets you make sure all employees understand what’s expected of them.
           
Raise Internal Awareness
Create an annual or semi-annual awareness campaign. There are plenty of organizations that offer free materials on seatbelt campaigns. This is one of the easiest, cheapest and most convenient ways to support your seatbelt policy.
 
Enforcement
Be vigilant in enforcing your seatbelt policy. Let employees know that violating the policy carries the same consequences as violating any other company safety rule. Always take progressive disciplinary action for unbuckled drivers.
 
Evaluation
Create a baseline for comparison of current seatbelt use. Then regularly evaluate your company’s progress toward a 100% buckled-up goal.
 
Incentives
Rewards can also work toward promoting safe behavior. Why not use them to improve seatbelt use? Offer tokens toward prizes or even larger cash rewards. For more information on creating an incentive program, see our “Safety Incentives” safety topic.
 
Encouraging Employees to Buckle-up
The following organizations offer a wealth of free resources that can help you create and enforce your seatbelt policy. You’ll find everything from training materials and posters to research and technical advice on these sites:
 
National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA)
www.nhtsa.dot.gov                             888.327.4236
NHTSA offers employers highway safety materials and publications (including “The Economic Burden of Traffic Crashes on Employers”), as well as technical assistance.
 
National Institute for Occupational Health & Safety (NIOSH)
www.cdc.gov/niosh                              800.232.4636
NIOSH provides several publications and guidelines on traffic and fleet safety.
 
National Safety Council (NSC)
www.nsc.org                                       630.285.1121
NSC is the sponsor of the National Seatbelt Coalition and the annual Air Bag and Seatbelt Safety Campaign. The NSC website offers an entire section on driver safety.
 
Utah Department of Public Safety (DPS) Highway Safety Division
http://highwaysafety.utah.gov             801.965.4461
The Utah DPS offers educational resources and publications, community outreach and technical support. The website has detailed crash data for Utah.
 
National Safety Council (USC)
http://www.nsc.org/pages/home.aspx               
USC has information and videos on traffic safety. The organization also offers an extensive array of drivers’ education classes, including defensive driving for the workplace.

WCF Insurance Safety Department
www.wcfgroup.com                           385.351.8000, ext. 8103 or 800.446.2667
WCF Insurance offers several Safety Topics on seatbelt use and policies, and fleet safety. WCF Insurance also offers a defensive driving course as part of its safety seminars program.
 

Zero Fatalities  
http://ut.zerofatalities.com
Zero Fatalities shares statistics, stories and prevention tips on their site dedicated to reduce driving fatalities to zero.

Additional Resources
WCF Insurance Safety Department
385.351.8103

Ask a Safety Consultant

https://www.osha.gov
http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/

NOTICE: This guide may make reference to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations; however the guide is not legal advice as to compliance with OSHA or other safety laws, codes or regulations. Compliance with OSHA and other safety laws codes or regulations, and maintaining a safe work environment for your employees remains your responsibility. WCF Insurance does not undertake to perform the duty of any person to provide for the health or safety of your employees. WCF Insurance does not warrant that your workplace is safe or healthful, or that it complies with any laws, regulations, codes or standards.

 

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