Vehicle safety is an important element of risk control for all senior living facilities. Many facilities own or lease vehicles that are used for resident transport, and or have employees use their personal vehicle for company business. According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of work-related deaths in the U.S., and according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 15-capacity vehicles have a greater risk than other vehicles to be involved in rollover crash. Because auto accidents pose a potential injury risk to employees and residents, as well as damage to the auto or property, it’s essential that a strong vehicle safety program is in place and followed by all employees.

The key elements that a strong vehicle safety program should include – but aren’t limited to – are:

  • Driver Selection – It’ recommended that drivers should meet the following criteria:
    • Be at least 21 years of age
    • Possess a valid driver’s license
    • Have a motor vehicle record (MVR) that meets company requirements
    • Pass a satisfactory written or road test specific to the type of vehicle that they will be operating
  • Driver Training
    • All drivers should be trained initially, and current drivers should receive ongoing training
    • If wheelchairs are being transported, drivers should be trained on proper loading, unloading and securement of wheelchair
    • All drivers should review and sign off on the company’s vehicle safety policy
  • Driver Responsibilities
    • A valid driver’s license and personal auto insurance should be maintained and always available
    • Seatbelts, shoulder harness and wheelchair restraints must always be worn for all passengers when the vehicle is in use
    • Unsafe vehicle conditions should be reported immediately
    • Driving while under the influence of alcohol, drugs, illegal or prescribed should be prohibited
    • Smoking, phone use or eating should not be allowed while vehicle is in operation
  • Drug and Alcohol Testing
    • Pre-employment
    • Post-accident
    • Reasonable Suspicion
    • Random
  • Incident Reporting
    • If anyone is injured, call 911
    • Protect the incident scene and if possible, move vehicle to a safe location out of traffic
    • Obtain information from other drivers involved
      • Name
      • Address
      • Driver’s license number
      • Insurance company name and policy number
      • Vehicle information
    • Don’t discuss or admit fault or place blame
    • Notify management as soon as possible
  • Vehicle Inspection and Maintenance – A proper inspection and maintenance program should include:
    • Monthly inspection of interior and exterior, lights, windshield wipers, horn, tires, warning flashers and steering
    • A schedule for major maintenance milestones such as brakes, transmission, etc.
    • Records of monthly inspections and regular maintenance should be kept
    • Insurance card should remain in vehicle at all times

By implementing these key elements, senior living communities can establish a comprehensive vehicle safety program that prioritizes the well-being of employees and residents. This helps limit insurance claims by reducing the frequency and severity of accidents, ensuring compliance with safety regulations, and maintaining proper documentation of vehicle maintenance and incidents.

To learn more, contact a Marsh McLennan Agency (MMA) safety advisor today.

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