Employers and supervisors

Winter can be the most dangerous time of the year for employees who drive for work in BC. Employers and supervisors need to plan ahead and be prepared for the change in seasons to help keep drivers safe. Use our templates and other resources to reduce risk and protect your most valuable asset — your staff.


What employers and supervisors need to know

Any work-related driving puts employees at risk. Winter increases the risk, especially when drivers go too fast for the road and weather conditions. Nearly 40% of all work-related crashes resulting in injury and time off work occur from November through February in BC.

The highest-risk occupations, according to WorkSafeBC statistics, are:

  • Transport truck drivers
  • Delivery and courier service drivers
  • Bus drivers, subway operators, and other transit operators
  • Community health support services employees

Meeting your safety responsibilities

Employers are required to keep their employees safe when they drive for work. Supervisors have similar duties for employees who report directly to them. Make sure you know your responsibilities.

To help meet them at this time of year, address winter driving in your road safety plan. You’ll find a lot of the information you need in our What Employers Need to Know (PDF 1 MB) and What Supervisors Need to Know (PDF 177 KB) guides.

If you have vehicles over 5500 kg GVW, review our commercial carriers information.

Our guide for the community and home care sector (PDF 1 MB) suggests 4 steps employers can take to help keep employees safe while driving.

Identifying winter hazards and assessing risk

Hazard identification and risk assessment are the foundation of workplace safety. Start by figuring out the unique winter driving-related hazards that employees will most likely face. Remember to think about everyone on staff who drives, whether it’s a full-time delivery person or a sales rep seeing clients. It doesn’t matter whether they use their own vehicle or one owned by your organization.

Here are some of the common hazards your drivers may come across, and steps you can take to reduce the risks they create:

Driver hazards
Vehicle hazards
Driving hazards
Weather and road hazards

Developing policy and procedures

Once you understand the hazards and risks associated with the type of driving your employees do, put some safety guidelines in place to deal with them. Set safe driving expectations and supervise employees to make sure they’re being met.

We recommend you use our winter driving safety policy (DOC 175 KB) and safe work procedure (PDF 165 KB) templates. They can be adapted to suit organizations of any size.

Review our Policies and Procedures Tool Kit to learn more.

Training and educating drivers

Assessing drivers helps you understand whether they have the skills needed to safely complete the work you assign them. It’s important to review their winter driving skills. Drivers may be rusty since they haven’t been on icy or snowy roads for many months.

New and young workers need training and orientation. Experienced drivers need refreshers. Have them all review our Driving for the Conditions Tool Kit and Practical BC Winter Driving Tips webinar. Use our tailgate meeting guides (PDF 2 MB) at safety meetings to emphasize key driving safety points. The guides cover 8 different topics, from winter tire specifications to driving in poor weather conditions.

You want drivers to feel prepared. Make sure they:

  • Have the equipment they need, such as winter tires and a vehicle emergency kit
  • Have the winter driving training they need
  • Understand and follow your policy and procedures for keeping them safe
  • Know how to report a winter driving hazard
  • Know how to determine whether driving for work is necessary
  • Know what to do in an emergency or if they get stranded
  • Have confidence in their winter driving skills

Employer Tool Kit

Winter driving safety requires year-round planning and execution. It starts with preparing drivers and vehicles before winter arrives. It continues with planning safe travel and monitoring drivers during the season. It finishes when winter is over, and you review your results to look for any improvements you can make for the next year. Use our winter driving safety planning calendar (PDF 541 KB) to help keep your organization on track.

Before winter

Start preparing about 2 to 3 months before winter conditions normally arrive. Waiting until snow or rain hits is too late.

Review policy, procedures
Review driving assignments
Prepare vehicles
Prepare drivers
Set goals

During winter

Once winter hits, you need to monitor and supervise drivers to ensure they’re following their training and your procedures.

Use journey management and trip planning to look for alternatives to driving, because the safest trip is one that never happens. Can employees do the work over the phone on a video call? If not, and the weather and road conditions are poor, can the trip be rescheduled?

It’s not always possible to avoid driving. In those cases, work with the driver to create a trip plan, including assessing driving hazards and road and weather conditions. Together, review safe driving and emergency procedures. Build extra time into their schedule to allow them to safely complete their drive.

Inspect the vehicle
Educate and communicate

After winter

Winter safe driving planning doesn’t end when the weather improves. This is the time for you to review, strengthen, and improve your policies and procedures for next year.

  • What worked and what didn’t?
  • Are there new hazards you need to plan for?
  • Did your drivers have appropriate tires, equipment, and emergency kits?
  • Did you do any near-miss or crash investigations that recommended changes in your procedures?
  • How did your crash and injury statistics compare with previous years?
Plan for next year
Budget for next year

Resources

Tool Kit

Hazard Identification and Risk Assessment

Identifying road and driving hazards is the first step to avoiding them. Get the tools and templates to identify potential hazards for your company drivers.
Tool Kit

Policies and Procedures

Policies and procedures help keep workers safe and prevent crashes by reducing risk. Use our templates to create your own road safety policies and procedures.
Tool Kit

Driver Assessment

Employers must ensure anyone driving for their business is doing so legally and safely. Use our driver assessment tool kit to assess and orient your drivers.
Tool Kit

Driver Assessment

Employers must ensure anyone driving for their business is doing so legally and safely. Use our driver assessment tool kit to assess and orient your drivers.
Webinar

Shift into Winter: Practical BC Winter Driving Tips

Winter driving requires more planning, equipment, and patience. Apply these easy-to-follow tips when driving for work or personal reasons.
Tool Kit

Journey Management and Trip Planning

Driving for work may be one of the most dangerous things your employees do. Journey management can help reduce the risks.
Tailgate Meeting Guide

Using Personal Vehicles for Work

This guide explains employee safety responsibilities when using a personal vehicle for work purposes.
Online Course

Winter Driving Safety for Employers and Supervisors Online Course

Learn how to plan, implement, and monitor a winter driving safety program in your organization using Shift into Winter resources, including policy and procedures templates.
Winter Driving: What Employers Need to Know
PDF 1MB
Winter Driving: What Supervisors Need to Know
PDF 177KB
Winter Driving: Are Your Community and Home Care Workers Prepared?
PDF 1MB
Sample Winter Driving Policy for Workplaces
Word 135KB
Safe Work Procedure (SWP) for Winter Driving
PDF 165KB
Winter Driving Safety Tailgate Meeting Guides
PDF 2MB
Winter Driving Safety Planning Calendar
PDF 156KB
Do I Stay or Do I Go? Plan Your Trip for a Safe Winter Ride brochure
PDF 310KB
Vehicle Emergency Kit Checklist
PDF 135KB
Winter Driving Hazards
PDF 571KB
Winter Driving Survival Checklist
PDF 176KB
Running the Right Tires
PDF 1MB
Winter Tips for Truck Drivers
PDF 167KB
Winter Tips for Log Haulers
PDF 213KB
Winterizing Your Safety Plan: Information for Commercial Carriers
PDF 1MB