Retail Driving Hazards

Topics: Retail

Summary: Vehicle crashes may be a lesser-known risk in the retail industry, but they are the leading cause of work-related deaths in the U.S. Find out what employers should do to ensure employees who drive as part of their daily duties stay safe behind the wheel.

Employee Risks in the Retail Industry 

A recent report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics lists the retail industry as having the third-highest rate of injuries in the workplace, behind only health care and manufacturing. This is especially surprising considering it’s placed higher on the list than a seemingly more dangerous occupation – construction.

Retail employees face a number of injury risks in their day-to-day duties:
  • Moving merchandise, displays, etc. which can lead to strains, sprains and other injuries related to lifting
  • Falling from heights (stacking shelves that require the use of a ladder, as an example)
  • Being struck by a product falling off a shelf
  • Slips, trips and falls, or cuts from opening boxes with knives/sharps
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Retail Driving Hazards

Here’s one retail-related risk you and your clients may not have thought of, however: auto accidents. There are several retail occupations that include driving exposure. Flower shops generally offer delivery to homes or offices. Many grocery stores offer delivery of food/provisions, medicines, etc. Some auto dealerships will deliver a newly purchased vehicle directly to your home. In the case of auto parts delivery, driving is the primary risk for this occupation.

According to the CDC, motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of work-related deaths in the United States. Regardless of whether employees driving light or heavy vehicles or if driving is a main or secondary function of their job duties, all workers are at risk for an accident behind the wheel. 

According to AmTrust’s 2019 Retail Risk Report, the average claim payout for vehicle-related injuries in the retail industry was nearly $15,000 per claim. With driving exposures becoming more commonplace among this industry, what can be done to help minimize the risk? Here are some best practices and tips for your retail clients.

Driving Safety Best Practices and Tips for Small Business

Motor Vehicle Record Checks

Conduct Motor Vehicle Record (MVR) reviews for all employees who operate any motor vehicle, including personal vehicles, in pursuit of company business. Before requesting MVRs you must have employees complete the Fair Credit Reporting Act Disclosure Statement. This facilitates the MVR review process.

Conduct reviews at hire, and then annually from that point forward. Compare the results of the reviews to written and pre-established acceptable driver criteria, and prohibit employees from driving if they do not meet those criteria such as:
  • No more than two moving violations in the previous two years
  • No convictions for DUI
  • No at-fault accidents in the previous two years
  • No hit-and-run or leaving the scene of an accident incidents

Develop a Driving Safety Policy

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Establishing safe driving practices in the workplace begins with having a policy in place. This policy should include elements to address key points, such as:
  • Seat belts: Develop a written safety policy requiring employees who operate a company vehicle to wear passive restraint seat belts and shoulder harnesses. Require drivers to sign a statement verifying that they have received and reviewed the safety policy.
  •  Cell phones: Establish and enforce a policy that employees may not use cellular phones or mobile electronic devices while operating a motor vehicle, regardless of whether a hands-free device is used. In the event of an emergency or should a driver be required to make or receive a call, they should pull over to a safe location before using a device.
  •  GPS: Determine the type of navigation system approved to use – only specific types should be allowed. Ensure these approved GPS systems can be used safely and do not impair or distract the driver (i.e., mounting systems).
  • Maximum radius: Determine the maximum territorial radius vehicles may be driven. A person should be appointed to be in charge of approving or denying trips that go outside this maximum radius on a routine basis.

Safe Driving Training

Any employees who will be driving should be encouraged to attend a training class that allows for hands-on experience. They should understand the basics of defensive driving techniques, such as adhering to posted speed limits, maintaining a three-second following distance, keeping eyes on the road and being prepared to react safely in any type of situation, including inclement weather. AmTrust policyholders have access to a variety of safety training videos, which include safe driving tactics.

Regular Maintenance and Inspection of Vehicles

Establish a scheduled vehicle maintenance program based on miles and/or months of use. It should also include a periodic inspection from a certified mechanic. Written records of all services performed should be maintained. The program should also include:
  • Daily vehicle inspections by the driver, completion of a vehicle condition report when defects are found
  • Determination by management as to which deficiencies require immediate attention
  • Periodic random observation of driver inspections by management to insure inspections are thorough
  • Maintain a written record of drivers’ deficiency findings and maintain these records for 90 days
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Choose AmTrust for Workers’ Compensation Coverage and Risk Management

AmTrust is a leader in workers’ compensation insurance for small to mid-sized businesses. We can design specific insurance packages to fit your retail clients’ needs. Our coverage combined with our comprehensive workplace safety training resources, including vehicle-related documents, from our Loss Control department can help protect your retail clients from risk. We also offer access to a series of streaming videos on driving safety. Be sure to read our recent blog posts on distracted driving and tips for safe winter driving. For more information, please contact us today.

This material is for informational purposes only and is not legal or business advice. Neither AmTrust Financial Services, Inc. nor any of its subsidiaries or affiliates represents or warrants that the information contained herein is appropriate or suitable for any specific business or legal purpose. Readers seeking resolution of specific questions should consult their business and/or legal advisors. Coverages may vary by location. Contact your local RSM for more information.

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