Workplace Focus on Safety
A new survey of National Safety Council members has revealed that 99 percent of companies with policies prohibiting the use of cell phones and messaging devices while driving have experienced no change in productivity — and some have seen an increase in productivity — after the policies took effect. Productivity concerns were the top reason given by respondents who have not established a cell phone policy.
Fifty-eight percent (1,163 out of 2,004 respondents) said their organization had a cell phone policy of some kind. Of those, 469 member companies have enacted full cell phone prohibition policies, which prohibit employees from using hands-free or handheld phones. “Companies today face serious economic challenges, and we are very pleased to see that this critical safety issue is being taken seriously by business leaders across the country,” said Janet Froetscher, president and CEO of NSC. “Policies banning cell phone use while driving make sense as companies strive to improve employee safety and stay profitable.”
The majority of survey respondents represented manufacturing, transportation and warehousing companies with fewer than 500 employees. Most companies have implemented their policies since 2006, reflecting the dramatic increase in use of wireless technology. Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan Inc. (PotashCorp), an integrated fertilizer and feed products company, is an example of a company that has implemented a cell phone policy.
“We did not have any particular incidents that led us to enact our cell phone policy, it was simply a common value to help keep our people safe,” said John R. Hunt, PotashCorp Vice President of Safety, Health and Environment. “We have seen really wide support for the policy and our people do not see it as a detriment to performing their jobs.”
The survey found that although most policies are enforced through an honor system, 43 percent of companies conduct parking lot observations and 40 percent use driver records and traffic citations. Almost 10 percent conduct in-vehicle monitoring, which is a growing area for policy compliance. The four most common disciplinary actions include formal write-ups, verbal warnings, temporary job suspension and termination.