The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has recently released a campaign for a safer working environment for employees who drive while working. Following national awareness and campaigns on the dangers of texting while driving, OSHA is working together with the Department of Transportation and has released a “no-texting while working” brochure and a new informational page on their website directed at employers and workers who drive on the job.
In the brochure, OSHA outlines that employers should ensure the safety of their driving employees by following these recommendations:
• Prohibit workers from texting while driving and declare work vehicles “text-free zones.”
• Establish procedures that do not require employees to text while driving.
• Establish safe procedures, locations, and times for safe communication with managers or customers.
• Train employees on safe communication practices.
• Remove any possible financial incentives or work incentives that would result in employees trying to text while driving on the job.
At a recent symposium focused on eliminating work-related driving distractions, the Symposium on Prevention of Occupationally-Related Distracted Driving, held on April 18 in Laurel, MD, OSHA Assistant Secretary David Michaels spoke on the importance of minimizing the need of employees to text their customers or employers while driving. In an October 2010 letter to employers whose employees work involves driving, he emphasized, “Year after year, the leading cause of worker fatalities is motor vehicle crashes. There’s no question that new communications technologies are helping business work smarter and faster. But getting work done faster does not justify the dramatically increased risk of injury and death that comes with texting while driving.”
Here in Massachusetts, bus drivers are forbidden from using any cellphone; however, there is no statewide-law forbidding cellphone use while driving, only local laws.
If you have been injured in a work-related vehicle accident, contact an experienced Massachusetts workers’ compensation lawyer for legal advice and to find out if are entitled to workers’ compensation.