It’s official: distracted driving is a prominent and serious threat to employee safety, and the Department of Labor is pulling out the big guns to tackle the problem. Last week, Labor Secretary Hilda Solis announced the DOL’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration will partner with the Department of Transportation for a new initiative combating distracted driving. Sec. Solis specifically called out American employers, challenging them to do more to discourage employee cell phone use while driving.
On Monday, OSHA took its first step toward fulfilling its new mandate, launching an online resource aimed at reducing work-related distracted driving:http://www.osha.gov/distracted-driving. The new website will educate employees on their rights to a safe, hazard-free work environment – and employers of their responsibility to maintain that safe workplace.
Announcing the new website, Assistant Secretary of Labor Dr. David Michaels said, “OSHA’s message to all companies whose employees drive on the job is straightforward: It is your responsibility and legal obligation to have a clear, unequivocal and enforced policy against texting while driving.”
OSHA is putting employers on notice: create an employee cell phone use policy andenforce it. The hallmark of modern business is constant connectivity – which puts a burden on employees to be immediately responsive to client or supervisor requests. To be compliant with federal safety regulations, however, employers will have to face distracted driving head-on. It’s not enough to implement a paper policy prohibiting employees from texting or emailing while driving. OSHA’s new initiative says that employers are responsible for ensuring that their workers observe those prohibitions. Leveraging safe driving technology to ensure that compliance is one simple way employers can meet these new safety requirements.