Policies and Procedures
Policies and procedures are the foundation of a good road safety program. Their primary goal is to help keep workers safe and prevent crashes by reducing or eliminating risk. They also provide decision-making guidance and instructions for all employees. Learn how to create your own road safety policies and procedures using our templates.
What are policies and procedures?
Policies define an organization’s commitment to safety. Procedures explain the actions needed to fulfill the policy.
Road safety policies
Policies cover the principles and strategies an organization uses to guide its decisions. They explain the “why” and set out the roles and responsibilities of the employer, supervisors, and employees. Effective policies provide clear guidance and need to be communicated to everyone in the organization.
Here’s an example of a basic road safety policy:
“XYZ Inc is committed to employee safety. To protect our employees, other drivers, pedestrians, and cyclists, we require our employees who drive for work to focus on their driving and avoid engaging in distracting activities.”
Road safety procedures
Safe work procedures are road safety cornerstones. They explain how the organization expects its employees to drive. Effective procedures are easy to understand and apply. Employers need to train and instruct employees in their procedures and ensure they are being followed.
Here’s an example of a very basic safe driving procedure:
“When driving for work, employees will:
- Pay full attention to driving at all times
- Identify hazards and respond proactively
- Avoid high-risk driving behaviours, such as speeding, tailgating, failing to yield, improper passing or lane changes, etc.”
Creating road safety policies and procedures
Your organization can have separate road safety policies and procedures or combine them. To be effective, policies and procedures need to provide clear guidance and be communicated to everyone in the organization. Use our templates to get started.
Steps to follow
Following these basic steps, you can build your own driving policies and procedures. Even a small organization with limited resources can do it.
Involve employees from the beginning. Choose people who are familiar with the hazards of work-related driving. They could include:
- A manager who understands the policy and procedures objectives
- A supervisor or employees who drive for work
- An employee who drives for work and has a positive safety reputation
- A member of a joint occupational health and safety committee
- A worker safety representative
- Industry experts
Risk assessments are the basis of policy and procedures.
- Think of why you want to address road safety issues. This will help you start your policy.
- Review all risk assessments and determine the highest ranked risks.
- Create a list of actions needed to address the risks. This will be the start of procedures.
Set a timeline for each policy and procedure you want to complete.
You need current information to help you make decisions. Possible sources include:
- Employees who drive – these are the most important people to consult. Ask them how they complete a task and why they do it that way.
- Existing policies and procedures – you may need to update them or write new ones.
- Safety regulations – you may need to address specific requirements.
- Road Safety at Work and health and safety associations for your industry.
- Other organizations in your sector – see if you can exchange information and resources.
Exploring these questions can help you focus your policies and procedures.
Why do you need a policy or procedure?
For example, you might need or want to:
- Safeguard the health and safety of employees, other drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians
- Demonstrate your organization’s duty of care
- Comply with legal requirements and due diligence obligations
- Reduce the human and financial costs associated with motor vehicle crashes
- Protect your organization’s business reputation
What are you trying to achieve?
For example, you might need or want to:
- Reduce injuries and crashes and their related costs
- Ensure employees drive with a safe and responsible attitude
- Develop programs to support and train employees
- Ensure programs comply with safety regulations
Who will they apply to?
It’s important to know your audience. Policies and procedures usually apply to all employees. You may make exceptions.
- Will anyone be exempt, such as employees with special qualifications?
- Will contractors, sub-contractors, volunteers, interns, part-time staff, or seasonal workers be included?
- Do new or young workers, or anyone else on staff, have special requirements?
When will they apply?
Policies and procedures apply in most situations. But there may be scenarios that allow an employee to use a different policy or procedure. For example:
- Travel check-ins are optional in the summer but mandatory in the winter.
- Weekly vehicle inspections can replace daily inspections if employees drive less than 200 km a week.
Whatever limitations or exceptions apply, be sure to specify them as best you can.
Where will they apply?
Policies and procedures should apply everywhere but there may be exceptions, such as:
- Other jurisdictions with other legal requirements
- Worksites or locations controlled by contractors or clients
What are consequences for not following them?
Many organizations have a disciplinary process. If not, include one in your policy. Lay out corrective measures for only the most serious and most common infractions. This serves as a guideline for discipline in other situations.
Some organizations have separate policy and procedure documents. Others combine them into one document. Whichever method you use, be consistent so your employees know what to expect.
Organize your information
A policy starts with a large, high-level concept that gets refined into a smaller, focused goal.
A procedure then lays out the steps to achieve the goal. It recognizes the associated risks and describes what will be done to eliminate or minimize the risk of injury. It’s best to break procedures into small steps. “How to drive a dump truck” would be large and complex. “Operating a half-ton pickup in a busy downtown construction site” would be more specific.
List steps in order as best you can.
Make it clear
Employees need to understand the requirements, so write clearly and concisely. To help get the message across:
- Use images (pictures, diagrams, and workflows) whenever they add clarity. Don’t add an image just because it looks good.
- Use plain language and short sentences.
- Break up large paragraphs by using bullet points or numbered lists.
- Use headings to organize similar information together.
- Use step-by-step instructions to describe a specific task.
- Emphasize what you want them to do, not what they shouldn’t do.
Review and test
Before adopting new policies and procedures, ask employees to review and test them. Do they explain what needs to be done? Are you asking employees to do something they’re not capable of doing?
Have the document on hand so you can edit it as you go through the procedures.
Post the policy and procedures in your workplace and online if possible. Employees may need 24-hour access to them. Share the document in any of the following ways:
- Send a group email.
- Print hard copies and put them in high-use areas and vehicles.
- Have a supervisor review the document with their employees – 1-on-1 or in safety or staff meetings. Answer questions and confirm they know how and when to apply it.
- Place a sticker on or in vehicles to remind drivers of critical steps in a procedure.
- Reinforce understanding with an annual review and quiz at a safety meeting.
Employers and supervisors can also share the information by example. Set the expectation for your employees by following your organization’s policies and procedures.
Policies and procedures are living documents that need to be updated regularly. Review them annually. Ask the people who use the information:
- Is it clear and easy to use?
- Is any information missing?
- Is the document meeting its purpose?
- Is there a better process or procedure to use?
- What can be improved?
Topics to cover
Your organization can create policies and procedures for any driving-related hazard. Many other road safety issues can be covered as well.
- Check-in procedure
- Crash and near-miss reporting
- Distracted driving
- Driving alone
- Driver assessment
- Driver orientation
- Driver’s seat and mirror adjustment
- Fitness for duty/impairment
- Journey management and trip planning
- Load securement
- Parking practices
- Personal protective equipment
- Safe driving
- Using employee-owned vehicles for work
- Using rented or shared vehicles for work
- Using ride-sharing or taxi services for work travel
- Vehicle inspection
- Vehicle maintenance
- Violence prevention
- Winter driving