Thinking about September safety

Get ready for fall conditions and review your company driving policy, clear storm drains, and prepare for rain on the roads. 

Photo of closeup of driver's hands on steering wheel driving on a rainy day

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September tends to be a month of transitions. “It’s the perfect time to review your company’s driving policy in your health and safety program,” says safety advisor Lorne Davies of the Manufacturing Safety Alliance of BC.

He adds: “It’s also the right time to remind employees that their vehicles need to be in safe driving condition — with windshields, tires, and brakes in good repair for the upcoming winter driving season.”

Reviewing your company driving policy

Your company’s driving policy should include safe driving practices such as:

  • Staying off the phone
  • Not exceeding posted speed limits
  • Adjusting speed for road conditions
  • Leaving adequate distance to the car ahead

“If these simple habits are implemented and reinforced for work activities, they will reward drivers when they’re driving for personal use as well,” Lorne says.

Ready for leaves?

A lot of sweeping and raking is about to hit us. Wet leaves create slippery road conditions and clog drains, causing nearby areas to flood.

“Be a good neighbour: please remove leaves around storm drains,” reads the City of Vancouver’s website article Seasonal leaf collection. Raking or blowing leaves onto the street is a fineable offence (up to $10,000) under the Street and Traffic By-Law.

I’m part of a team of neighbours who do our best to keep sidewalks clear of leaves because they can get very slippery. Slips and falls put us at risk of sprains, bruises, concussions, and fractures. (See WorkSafeBC’s page on preventing slips, trips, and falls for information about preventing injuries in the workplace.)

Help keep your workers and customers safe by ensuring that sidewalks and drains around your business are kept free of leaves — and of snow and ice, when they arrive.

Driving in the rain

When drains are not cleared, big puddles form on the roads, which can cause cars to hydroplane.

“Prevent hydroplaning by scanning ahead for large puddles and reducing your speed, especially during heavy rain,” reads Driving in poor conditions from ICBC. It also instructs, “If hydroplaning happens, don’t brake — decelerate and drive straight.”

If you and your workers can’t avoid driving in poor conditions, here are some more tips from ICBC to make your drive safer:

  • Posted speed limits are designed for ideal road conditions. Slow down when driving on snow, ice, slush, or rain.
  • Allow yourself at least twice the normal braking distance on wet or slippery roads.
  • Check tire pressure regularly. Pressure drops in colder conditions.
  • Keep the wiper fluid topped up for clearer visibility.

Manage journeys to reduce risks

Each month, Road Safety at Work publishes a new road safety goal. The goal for September is Manage journeys to reduce risks. This includes eliminating unnecessary driving by employees and managing the risks of necessary driving.

And, finally, let’s all pay attention. According to ICBC, approximately 960 crashes occur every day in B.C., many of which are caused by distracted or inattentive driving. (See more information from WorkSafeBC on distracted driving.)

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