Your road safety plan
- Your road safety plan
- How to build your plan
- Plan. Do. Check.
- Plan: Build a plan with purpose
- Do: Put your plan to work
- Check: Review results and make improvements
If your employees drive full time, part time or only occasionally for work, your health and safety program needs to include measures to ensure their safety when they are behind the wheel. Using our resources, you can build a road safety plan to achieve those goals.
How to build your plan
A road safety plan is much like a business plan. It’s the framework that lays out what your organization is going to do to be successful. In this case, success means making sure none of your employees are injured in a crash while they’re driving or riding in a work vehicle.
A strong business plan considers the factors that could negatively impact the business, and describes how the organization will eliminate or mitigate those risks. Similarly, your road safety plan needs to consider the hazards employees might encounter when they’re driving for work, and explain measures and controls that will eliminate exposure to those hazards, or minimize the risks. That’s not just good business – it’s also part of your responsibilities as an employer.
Driving is complex. The driving environment is dynamic. Road conditions can change daily. How can an organization possibly put measures in place to deal with every possible driving hazard?
Those challenges are real, but there’s plenty you can do to get started, and then build and improve your safety plan down the road.
If you’re new to road safety and you have limited information and resources available, we recommend you review our 1-hour Road Safety 101 for Small Businesses Webinar. It provides a simple approach one small employer used to identify the biggest hazards his employees were likely to encounter, and the measures he applied to reduce risks. If you know your business well, you might be able to use a similar approach to start reducing risks for your employees.
If you aren’t sure which specific hazards you should address to help protect your employees, data compiled by RoadSafetyBC and/or ICBC can help.
Every year there are thousands of crashes in BC. The data shows what factors caused or contributed to those crashes. There may be differences between the driving your employees do and the circumstances behind those statistics. But there are likely enough similarities that implementing measures aimed at reducing those risks should benefit your employees.
For example, RoadSafetyBC data shows the factors that most often contributed to crashes over the last decade were distracted driving/inattention, aggressive driving, driver error/confusion, speeding, and environment/road conditions. Building a plan and implementing measures to address these specific hazards will move your organization in the right direction. Road Safety at Work has many tools and resources available to help with your planning, including:
- Distracted driving/inattention:
- Aggressive driving:
- Driver error/confusion:
- Safe Driving Procedures Template (Word 20KB)
- Environmental/road conditions:
For more tools and resources on addressing these and other hazards, visit our tools & resources page.
If, however, you stop at just addressing one or even all those factors, you won’t know if you’re dealing with the risks your workers face most often – or if you’re missing any possibly more important hazards.
Unless you look closely at the driving your employees do, you won’t appreciate the full range of risks you need to address – perhaps until it’s too late.
The huge number of crashes that happen each year can have devastating consequences for the people involved, their families and co-workers – and for their employers. If you have employees who drive for work, crashes are probably one of the company’s greatest risk exposures. Finding ways to reduce driving risks deserves a more complete approach.
Our Road Safety Plan Template (Word 81KB) will help you do that. Offered in a Basic/Better/Best format, the first level helps you take action on high-priority risks and address basic compliance requirements. The next level helps you add measures that are slightly more involved, but pay big risk reduction returns. The third level helps you incorporate best practices that are included in the most successful road safety programs.
Below is a schematic of the tool. For each element, the table explains the overall objectives and intended results, provides questions to prompt you to include key information, and points you to resources where you’ll find supporting information and guidance.
|Confirm drivers are qualified||Check for a valid licence and clean driving record (abstract) annually||Do periodic driver assessments||Make driving competencies/background checks part of your hiring criteria|
|Make sure employees have the necessary driving skills||Conduct driver orientations||Provide coaching, mentoring and training||Provide training that keeps pace with changing vehicles, equipment, driving situations|
|Understand the hazards your employees encounter||Talk with employees||Use RiskCheck to do annual risk assessments||Work with safety committee and focus group to understand and reduce key risks|
|Develop and implement policies/procedures to reduce risks||Safe driving rules, distracted driving, speeding/aggressive driving, impairment/fatigue||Adverse road/weather conditions, employee-owned vehicles, working (driving) alone||Wildlife collisions, preventing violence, hauling/towing, preventing musculo-skeletal injuries, etc.|
|Use journey management to reduce risks||Use TripCheck to plan safe trips||Use data to find safer routes, schedules, etc.||Eliminate unnecessary driving; use alternate means of travel|
|Use safe vehicles||Inspect work vehicles regularly||Maintain vehicles in “fit for work” condition||Implement a robust vehicle selection process|
|Provide effective supervision||Hold regular road safety tailgate meetings and review inspection reports||Do periodic spot checks, ride-alongs||Lead coaching conversations, facilitate access to training|
|Communicate||Explain procedures to the people expected to implement them||Make road safety part of the company culture||Include driving performance in annual reviews|
|Keep getting better||Have process for reporting hazards, unsafe conditions and near misses||Investigate crashes and act on what you learn||Review your program annually; plan to make steady improvements|
Download the Road Safety Plan Template (Word 81KB).
Plan. Do. Check.
Whether it’s basic or comprehensive, a road safety plan is most effective when it’s part of a holistic approach to protecting people. Words need to be backed by commitment and actions.
An effective road safety plan has a regular planning cycle supported by a strong safety culture, management commitment, and continuous improvement. Using a “plan, do, check” approach helps you efficiently write, implement, and monitor your plan.
Creating a robust road safety culture
An organization’s safety culture is defined by the combined values, beliefs and attitudes its employees share around safety. Practically, safety culture is how people in the organization approach, address and resolve safety issues. That’s why a robust safety culture plays such an important role in your road safety plan.
Creating a safety culture that understands crashes are preventable and believes the company can achieve that goal relies on genuine commitment from the management team. When company leaders show their commitment to minimizing crash risks, employees are more likely to be engaged and embrace the measures prescribed in your plan – for their own benefit, and for the benefit of their co-workers.
Your management team can show their commitment and contribute to a stronger safety culture by:
- Leading by example, consistently demonstrating safe driving behaviours.
- Taking an active role in advocating and leading road safety initiatives, and making sure resources are available to support road safety goals.
- Talking with employees about road safety, encouraging their participation in road safety planning, and ensuring they receive the training necessary to develop strong driving competencies.
- Requiring that managers/supervisors talk about road safety in tailgate meetings.
- Ensuring work assignments and expectations are aligned with safe driving policies/procedures.
- Supporting/incentivizing employees to know and follow safe driving rules.
Use the survey-style Road Safety Snapshot to gain insights into your organization’s current safety culture and how employees feel about the road safety measures currently in place. Have employees complete the survey every 2 or 3 years and compare results.
For more tips, review our Building and Sustaining Best Road Safety Practices Webinar.
Plan: Build a plan with purpose
Like an effective business plan, your road safety plan needs to have direction, purpose and valid goals by which you can measure success. For example, your goals might be based on improving past performance in terms of:
- The number of crashes and crash claims
- The number of injuries, lost-time incidents, and lost workdays
- Claims costs
- Insurance premium costs
- Property damage costs
- Fines and penalties
These are examples of lagging indicators. They rely on past events and outcomes to demonstrate trends. They don’t show what your organization is currently doing to improve safety.
That’s why you should include goals based on leading indicators – information that keeps track of actions being taken to reduce risks and prevent crashes. Goals can be set around the numbers or percentages of:
- Driver’s licences and records received and checked
- Driver orientations completed
- Driver assessments, ride-alongs or spot-checks completed
- Vehicle inspections completed
- Driver training courses completed
- Trip plans prepared/submitted/reviewed
- Safety/tailgate meetings that include a road safety discussion
Setting SMART goals
When setting your goals, use the SMART approach:
- Specific: Is the goal well-defined and clear so everyone knows its focus?
- Measurable: Can you track your progress?
- Achievable: Is it possible and practical for your organization to meet the target?
- Relevant: How does the goal align with safety objectives? Why is the result important?
- Timed: What’s the deadline for achieving the goal?
Review these 2 examples for ideas you can apply in your workplace:
In reviewing previous results, it appears that several near misses and incidents could have been prevented if the vehicles had been properly inspected.
- Safety goal: Eliminate near misses and incidents caused by mechanical failure.
- Measurement: Compare year-over-year number of pre-trip vehicle inspections to incidents in which mechanical failure was a contributing factor.
- Achievable: Drivers will inspect their vehicle before they use it for work, and submit results on our inspection form.
- Relevant: Inspections can detect potential failures before they happen.
- Timed: 12 months
You recently added delivery services to your business and hired several new employees. But you aren’t sure they have the driving skills they need.
- Safety target: Employees are provided the training they need to develop necessary skills.
- Measurement: Require drivers to complete ICBC Practice Test and complete behind-the-wheel defensive driver training.
- Achievable: Training is available, funding is in place.
- Relevant: Improved driving skills should help prevent crashes and injuries.
- Timed: 6 months
Do: Put your plan to work
Once you’ve drafted your plan, the next crucial step is to put it to work. If you’ve used the Road Safety Plan Template (Word 81KB), you already have several good ideas on how you’ll reduce risks, who’s responsible for doing those things, and when they’ll be done.
Although covered in the Template, three components deserve further attention – training, communication and supervision.
Employers have a responsibility to provide employees with the information, instruction and training they need to safely do their work. That includes making sure they have the necessary driving skills.
A valid driver’s licence doesn’t necessarily mean its holder has the skills they need to do the driving you assign them. The same is true for new hires who claim to have plenty of driving experience. Does their experience include the vehicles, conditions, circumstances and expectations they’ll deal with in your workplace?
Once you complete a driver assessment, you’ll appreciate what skills an employee has, and which you’ll need to help them build. There are numerous training methods available.
Tailgate meetings are a quick and accessible way to work on important road safety matters, and to share practical knowledge. Learn more with the Tailgate Meetings Tool Kit.
- Complete our Assessing and Improving Employee Driving Skills online course.
- Challenge and improve your practical driving knowledge with an ICBC Practice Test.
- Take one (or more) of our quizzes. Whether you’re a driver, supervisor or employer, you’ll find there’s lots to learn.
- Look for more online learning opportunities. An internet search using “online driver training” will yield many results.
In a series of 1-hour recorded webinars, hear from Road Safety at Work subject matter experts and others on how to reduce the risks associated with distracted driving, winter driving, wildlife collisions, and other hazards.
Driver training schools offer a range of services from behind-the-wheel training to virtual and classroom training tailored to your employees’ needs.
Mentoring is a powerful training method. An experienced driver teams up with a new hire. The new hire rides with their mentor and initially watches as the mentor demonstrates how things are properly done. When both are ready, the new hire takes the wheel and shows the mentor what they’ve learned. This lets the trainee try new driving skills in a controlled environment while the mentor provides feedback to help the new hire get it right.
Look for random, unplanned opportunities throughout the day to help employees learn and improve their driving skills. For example:
- A chat in the coffee room
- An explanation in a safety meeting
- An interactive demonstration in a parking lot
Clear, concise communication will be key to your road safety plan’s success.
We recommend having your plan online for easy employee access. If that’s not possible, make sure all employees know where to access the plan and who to talk to if they have questions. Supervisors have a particularly vital role in communications. They need to make time to explain policies, procedures, and other elements of the plan. They must be available to support employees with timely answers, provide periodic reminders and refreshers, and listen and share employees’ ideas and concerns with the management team.
Keep these principles in mind when communicating with employees:
- Have a clear purpose
- Be clear and concise
- Use visuals when possible
- Choose the right communication method/mode
The table below provides a few ideas of the tools available.
A small group of employees, up to 12
Focus on an important road safety topic, such as reversing or parking, distracted driving, your vehicle inspection process, etc. An open discussion with time for employees to ask questions, provide feedback and learn.
Safety meetings – in-person, virtual and hybrids
Monthly, and as required
All employees, or a specific subset (e.g., employees who drive for work)
A great place to present and discuss safety matters and communicate more involved messages. (e.g., gathering information on safety priorities, developing policies, providing training, reviewing results).
Lunch and learns
Hour-long sessions often with presentation (e.g., review one of our webinars), discussion, collaboration, questions and answers.
Limited number of interested people
Less interactive than face-to-face and virtual meetings, but a quick and effective way to address a pressing safety issue.
Opportunities for focused, insightful and constructive meetings.
Less personal than face-to-face meetings, but often the quickest way to communicate important information.
Wide distribution, across company
Include road safety issues of interest to all employees who drive for work, such as an updated policy or procedure, quarterly safety results, tips about driving skills, etc.
Broad or specific
A quick and effective tool to deliver timely messages and reminders. Just make sure drivers know not to look at them while driving.
Broad or specific
This works only if employees have access to a computer or receive emails on their mobile device.
Unlike workplaces where workers are at the same location all day, workers who drive will be on the road part of the day, all day, and sometimes for days at a time. This can make it challenging for supervisors to meet their supervisory responsibilities. It can be difficult monitoring employees you can’t see, hear or speak with to provide guidance and instruction.
Download the Benefits of Effective Supervision guide (PDF 184KB)
Use these ideas to become a more effective supervisor:
- Employees look to leaders for the examples they should follow and the practices they should apply. Supervisors need to consistently model the driving behaviours and attitudes that the company expects of all employees.
- Actively participating on your health and safety committee is a great way to keep pace with road safety concerns, and to help steer the priorities and actions in ways that help prevent crashes.
- Be part of the orientation process. A thorough orientation is a great way to on-board a new hire and give them the knowledge and resources they need to be successful in their new role. Download our Driver Orientation Checklist (PDF 358KB).
- Show employees how to inspect their vehicles. Supervisors are usually responsible to ensure employees complete required pre-trip inspections. Explain your expectations and show them what they need to do. Provide a vehicle inspection form and explain when and how to complete and submit it. A few weeks later, watch as they inspect the vehicle, and provide any necessary pointers. For more information, point them to our Vehicle Inspections and Maintenance Tool Kit.
- Do spot checks. Regular spot-checks are a good way to confirm a work vehicle remains in fit for purpose condition, and that its driver is practicing good vehicle housekeeping.
- Do periodic driver assessments. Once you’ve done an initial driver assessment of a new hire, it’s a good idea to do follow-up assessments annually or every 2 or 3 years, depending on the driver and the driving they do. If their skills need refreshing, think about the training they need. For more information, see our Driver Assessment Tool Kit.
- Hold regular tailgate meetings. Once a week, gather the crew for a tailgate meeting. Focus on a particular topic, chat about a recent near miss or discuss new hazards that need attention.
Fatigue is a type of impairment. Like drugs and alcohol, fatigue can negatively affect anyone’s ability to drive. Unrealistic work schedules, long drives, stress and other factors contribute to fatigue. Supervisors need to understand the implications of fatigue when they’re assigning work, and watch for the symptoms in the people they supervise.
Review vehicle maintenance records to confirm work vehicles are being maintained as per company requirements and/or manufacturer recommendations. Compare inspection records to maintenance records to verify that repairs identified in the inspections are being done before the vehicle is used for work.
As traumatic as crashes can be, they also provide opportunities to investigate and understand what needs to be done to prevent similar crashes in the future. Because supervisors understand operational realities, they can provide valuable insights. They are also in a good position to promptly implement corrective actions.
Learn more in our Supervising Employees Who Drive For Work Online Course.
Check: Review results and make improvements
Given the effort you’ve invested in building and implementing your road safety plan, it only makes sense to find out if your plans and actions are contributing to your goals of reducing risks and making your workplace safer for employees who drive. There are three key steps.
Set a date shortly (say, a few months) after you release your plan to do a preliminary review. It’s likely too soon to compare your achievements to targets you set. But there is value in checking to see if the plan is being implemented as expected, or if there are significant gaps or errors that need to be addressed.
Talk with employees, supervisors and managers. Do they understand the plan and what they’re expected to do? Do the policies make practical sense? Can employees understand and follow the procedures? You may find that your plan is a lot to digest and implement all at once. You may need to clarify your priorities and focus on your highest-risk issues first. And, as a result of those conversations, you may discover ways to make it simpler and more effective.
Each year, your safety committee and management team should work together to do a more comprehensive review of the road safety plan, and its results. During that review, the team should compile results for key indicators and compare them to your targets. Often, gathering those results into handy tables or graphs, or expressing outcomes in terms of “percent completed/achieved/changed” makes them easier to understand and discuss.
If outcomes don’t match expectations, the review team needs to find out why. Perhaps unrealistic targets need to be right-sized. Maybe policies weren’t communicated, implemented or supported as planned, or there were gaps in the safe driving procedures themselves. Perhaps some of your initial assumptions were faulty.
For example, let’s say your goal was to reduce near misses and incidents caused by mechanical failures. You set the goal of inspecting work vehicles before they are used. Employees have done a great job of achieving that goal for the last 2 years. Yet, the associated near misses and incidents haven’t really changed. When you look closer, maybe you’ll discover that the inspections were done, but repairs and preventative maintenance weren’t. Connecting the dots to understand the situation helps the team make decisions and take actions that improve effectiveness.
The other big question to tackle is whether your road safety plan and the measures in it are reducing overall risks and contributing to a safer workplace. It’s important to know that your actions are solving the problems you intended. You also need to appreciate whether your road safety actions are focused on the right problems. Over the course of the year, your workplace and employees do change. New risks emerge and require attention. Annual reviews are an opportunity to have those discussions.
Things don’t always go as planned. Certainly, you should expect to achieve successes. You should also expect that your reviews will identify opportunities for improvements. That’s the spirit and intent of continuous improvement – looking for and finding ways to keep getting better. And, acting on what you discover.
Here are a few ideas to guide those changes.
- Revisit initial assumptions and expectations. Were they valid? What’s changed?
- Adjust targets incrementally upwards. Make changes that are challenging but achievable. Then, push your team to get better.
- Don’t expect to achieve 100% of your road safety goals. If you do, your goals might have been too modest. Some goals will simply take longer to complete than others.
- Relax focus in areas of excellence. When you’ve achieved a challenging goal, it may be time to shift your focus. For example, expending a lot of effort getting marginally better vehicle inspection results may do less to minimize crash risks than investing the same effort in driver assessments.
- Keep up with regulatory changes that may affect your road safety plan.
- Look at your successes. Understand what went right, and why it went right. Apply what you learn to areas where the plan is struggling.
- Leverage the energy of the safety committee and the commitment of the management team to adjust and improve your road safety plan for next year.