April 2022 Safety Coach: Spring is Nature’s Way of Saying, ‘Let’s Do Safety!’

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Safety Coach
Look Through This Lens

Marijuana is legal to use in more places today than ever before – for both medicinal and recreational purposes. Yet, studies show the chemical in marijuana that makes people feel high – tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) – can slow reaction times and reduce the ability to make decisions. You should recognize these as symptoms of impairment.

Of course, there are other symptoms, such as excitement, confusion and irritability. Impaired workers and impaired drivers present safety risks. Are you ready to tackle those risks? Learn how to implement safety solutions during our next free online training session:

Wednesday, April 20 (9-10:30 a.m.): Cannabis, HR & Poly Drugs: A DITTE Deep Dive.

This training is particularly timely as we approach the “420 marijuana holiday” observed in some circles across the U.S. Our goal is to help you protect your workers and prevent a surge of safety incidents involving impairment.

During the first half of this training, we will explore the effects of cannabis in the workplace and explain how to mitigate risk through random testing of employees in safety-sensitive positions. In the second half, we will focus on how to develop or improve drug policies, programs and procedures. We’ll discuss the practice of using more than one drug or type of drug at the same time – known as poly drug use.

Finally, we’ll help you gain insight into the impact of drug use on individual performance – on the job and behind the wheel.

Marijuana is the drug most often detected in workplace drug testing. In a 2019 survey conducted by the National Safety Council, 81% of employers said they were concerned about cannabis having a negative impact on their workforce. NSC noted two more key findings:

  • 71% of employers indicated their organization’s written policies covered employee use of illicit cannabis
  • 54% said their policies covered employee use of legal or prescribed cannabis

Clearly, there are safety gaps to close here. In addition to the implementation of policies and procedures, we encourage you to provide continuing education through your safety outreach initiatives. Raise awareness of risks associated with marijuana use with these free resources:

  1. Print and display this poster or share digitally: Drive High – Get a DWI
  2. Tap into materials provided by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration: 420 Impaired Driving Prevention
  3. Download the Drug and Alcohol Policy & Compliance Notice

Impairment is worth another deep dive. See you on April 20.

Help distracted drivers and distracted walkers regain their focus.

Tailgate Talk
Action to Stop Distraction

You see them every day: distracted drivers and distracted walkers. When the two collide, the walker is always going to lose. Simple physics: an average vehicle weighs more than 4,000 pounds. An average adult in the U.S. weighs about 180 pounds.

Some of your employees drive to work. Some drive FOR work – as a regular part of their job. All of your employees spend a part of their day walking, even if it’s merely walking across the parking lot to enter the office.

So, what can you do to help them put their best foot forward? Here’s an idea: Set aside 5 minutes to share this video produced by the Saskatchewan Safety Council during your next team meeting. The video highlights distinct differences observed between a walker with her head up and the same walker with her head down texting.

Then, consider setting up a walking course in your own parking lot to engage employees in a test that is sure to open their eyes to safety concerns. What changed when they buried their heads in their phones? You might even want to create your own video and share it with your entire organization at a social function. Have fun with safety!

In addition, use our free parking lot safety toolkit to bolster your safety initiatives as the weather warms and people begin to get out and about more often. The kit is stocked with safety posters, ready-made safety talks and safety coach cards that are great for safety trivia games. Pick and choose items that will work best for you at your location, and share one a day for a week to create a pedestrian safety focus this spring. Click on the Toolkits tab here.

Why is pedestrian safety an employer issue? Did you know?

  • One in every five crashes occurs in a parking lot or parking garage
  • Two-thirds of drivers admit to pulling into or out of parking spaces while distracted

In 2020, there were 4,852 crashes involving pedestrians in Texas, resulting in 1,211 serious injuries and 731 deaths, according to the Texas Department of Transportation. That’s a 9% increase in fatalities in a single year. Research shows distraction is a contributing factor in many of these crashes. Employers bear the brunt of costs associated with crashes, whether they occur on or off the job, whether they involve employees or their family members.

Drivers are distracted and walkers are distracted. Both know better. Help them do better.

Talking Road Safety

Mike Ezzell

Our Driving Concern Program Manager Mike Ezzell is scheduled to make a guest appearance on the Road Dog Trucking talk show at 1 p.m. CT on Wednesday, April 20. Ezzell will be part of a panel talking about distracted driving. He will be joined by Jetco Delivery’s Brian Fielkow and two victim advocates: Jamie White and Toron Elderidge.

Tune in on SirusXM Satellite Radio Channel 146. Not a subscriber? Click the “Listen Live” button here and try three months free.