Your road safety plan

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.

Option 1: Start with a simple model
Option 2: Use data to inform your plan
Option 3: Build a complete road safety plan

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?

Goal-setting examples

Review these 2 examples for ideas you can apply in your workplace:

Example 1: Vehicle Inspections
Example 2: Training

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.

Training

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
Online courses and tests
Recorded webinars
Driver training
Mentoring
Unplanned opportunities

Communication

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.

Method

How often

Audience

Application/content

Tailgate meeting

Weekly, monthly

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

Quarterly

Medium-sized group

Hour-long sessions often with presentation (e.g., review one of our webinars), discussion, collaboration, questions and answers.

Conference call

As needed

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.

One-on-one meetings

As needed

Specific individual

Opportunities for focused, insightful and constructive meetings.

Phone call

As needed

Specific individual

Less personal than face-to-face meetings, but often the quickest way to communicate important information.

Newsletter

As scheduled

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.

Text messages

As appropriate

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.

Email

As appropriate

Broad or specific

This works only if employees have access to a computer or receive emails on their mobile device.

Supervision

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:

Know your responsibilities
Lead by example
Be there every step of the way
Understand fatigue and impairment
Check vehicle maintenance records
Investigate crashes when they occur

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.

Schedule an early plan evaluation
Hold annual reviews
Keep getting better