Don’t Text and Drive! re: OSHA, Distracted Driving Awareness Month
April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month and OSHA has taken the opportunity to post a blog on the subject in which it reminds employers that “traffic accidents are the number one workplace killer.” OSHA does not require employers to have any type of a cell phone policy in place but in its “Distracted Driving: No Texting” brochure the Agency notes that “[w]hen your workers are behind the wheel doing your company’s work, their safety is your business.” The brochure goes on to say that if OSHA receives a “credible complaint” that an employer either explicitly or implicitly requires an employee to text while driving, it will investigate and issue citations if warranted. Given that OSHA does not have a specific standard regulating cell phone use and driving any such citations would likely be issued under OSHA’s General Duty Clause.
OSHA would like employers to be proactive by putting policies in place to ensure safe cell phone use. It recommends that employers spell out that texting and driving is prohibited, establish clear work procedures on when and how drivers should communicate with their employer or customers, include safe communication practices in employee training, and eliminate incentives that might encourage employees to text while driving.