Companies go to great lengths to ensure the safety of their personnel in the workplace. An abundance of policies and procedures have been drafted, typically in response to incidents, to serve as a guide in completing job tasks both efficiently and safely. Not all hazards, however, are explicitly located in the workplace.
Many companies are directing focus and attention towards travel in their job safety analyses (JSAs). Driving and travel have both drawn increasing recognition for their accompanying hazards. While JSAs typically saw the first step of job activity as the job’s actual start, driving to location is now being labeled the first step of the job process documented on the JSA. Continuing the theme of coverage, the final job step of the JSA is being listed as driving home from the worksite.
The fact that driving to and from work is now being recognized throughout the industry as dangerous business is a significant step toward a proactive safety culture. Companies must hone their focus and question why that activity ranks as so dangerous to understand its impact better.
Resulting from a decrease in rest, fatigue can easily overcome an individual. Those who work long hours or rotational schedules, and even a combination of both, can find themselves fatigued at various points of their work schedule. Those working a 14-day rotation might overcome fatigue on day seven. At that point, attempting to overcome fatigue and refuel on rest can be a difficult task of its own.
Workers suffering from fatigue can push through a workday, but the effects of fatigue can overtake the individual when seated behind the wheel of a vehicle. The rhythm of driving and lack of physical activity allows for an open effect path, leading to a hazardous income.
Companies should address fatigue management in their Journey Management programs. Supervisors and peers should all be trained to identify symptoms of fatigue and exercise Stop Work Authority if someone attempts to operate a vehicle while suffering those effects.
Driving accidents resulting from fatigue can be avoided by granting driving privileges to multiple employees when driving company vehicles. If the primary driver is suffering from fatigue, an alternative can take over.
Monitoring work hours is an excellent method of combating fatigue and should be a primary focus in the Journey Management program. For those who work a 12-hour shift, overtime, when needed, can easily result in the theft of needed rest. Limiting a company to the amount of time they can work helps ensure proper rest is achieved before attempting to operate a motor vehicle.
Anyone who spends time outdoors can appreciate the value of a good plan and a map. This thought process can manifest success within the Journey Management program. The significance is highlighted in good pre-job planning.
Taking the time to research the best route to the workplace can actually reduce the chance of driving accidents. By identifying the safest way available, those driving, and their passengers, stand a better chance of avoiding hazards. Remember, the safest method in managing hazards is to avoid them. By reviewing the route beforehand, hazards can be identified and managed accordingly.
Pilots file a flight path before the propeller ever starts to rotate. Seasoned fishermen communicate their anticipated locations to someone onshore before leaving the dock. This allows someone to find them if trouble persists or they do not arrive at their return locations as expected. By reviewing potential travel routes and identifying the winning option, workers can be more efficiently located if they do not arrive at the job site at the start of the workday or at home at its end.
Companies must be realistic in their employee expectations. They can only expect to get what they put into them. Developing an effective Journey Management program is only effective if the workforce is trained to use it. If training does not take place, deviations and non-compliance should be expected.
Training is critical to the plan’s success, and leadership is the catalyst in compliance. A management team that coaches and adheres to the Journey Management can legitimately expect the same for the people it devised.
Nick Vaccaro is a freelance writer and photographer. Besides providing technical writing services, he is an HSE consultant in the oil and gas industry with nine years of experience. He also contributes to Louisiana Sportsman Magazine and Masonry Magazine. Nick has a BA in Photojournalism from Loyola University and resides in the New Orleans area. 210-240-7188 Nick@shalemag.com