When you think about the most dangerous jobs, a non-CDL (Commercial Driver’s License) service or delivery driver does not usually come to mind. However, every year thousands of workers are injured or killed while performing a delivery. According to the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration, there were over 100,000 injuries and 300,000 accidents involving delivery vehicles in 2012 and Time magazine ranked it number eight on its list of the 10 Most Dangerous Jobs in 2014.
Delivery driver dangers include vehicle accidents, injuries while performing the delivery such as back injuries and slips, trips and falls, or crime. Both employers and employees can take important steps to help reduce these hazards.
12 Employer Responsibilities to Keep Delivery Drivers Safe
According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), it is the responsibility of the employer to maintain a place of employment that is free from recognized hazards that may cause or are likely to cause death or serious physical harm. OSHA citations can be issued for fatalities or serious injuries to delivery drivers.
Employers can reduce the potential for a delivery driver injury or fatality with these tips:
- Use caller ID. Caller ID helps identify who is calling. This is especially important for food deliveries, as the employer can use caller ID to trace the location of the customer.
- Keep detailed records. Maintain a list of all delivery customers, telephone numbers, and orders. This allows employers to be aware of their delivery driver’s route for that day.
- Display cash limits. If delivery drivers are carrying cash, the vehicle should have a sign that reads “Drivers carry limited amount of cash.”
- Encourage card payments. Try to use debit or credit cards to discourage thieves.
- Use GPS. GPS systems are important to locate drivers that may be in distress.
- Use cameras. Install in-car surveillance cameras to record activities.
- Provide cell phones to all delivery drivers to keep in touch with co-workers or to alert authorities of an emergency.
- Set a casual dress code. Allow drivers to wear ordinary street clothes. A uniform makes a driver stand out.
- Avoid late night. Late night deliveries can be more hazardous.
- Avoid weapons. Do not allow drivers to carry weapons that may be used against them in a robbery.
- Provide training. Offer safety training that will teach protective measures to dispatchers, company owners, and delivery drivers. For drivers, this could include a defensive driving training course and hazard awareness training to identify dangers at the delivery site. For owners and dispatchers, this could include sharing crime statistics for the areas where drivers will deliver, as well as how to be a safe victim of a robbery.
- Check driving records. Check Motor Vehicle Records (MVRs) on all employees that will operate a company-owned vehicle or a personal vehicle on company time.
12 Safety Actions for Delivery Drivers
While it is the responsibility of the employer to provide a safe work environment, it is also the responsibility of the employee to practice workplace safety. Performing a delivery by hopping into a vehicle sounds rather simple, but there are not many other jobs that require as much training and level-headedness as a delivery driver.
Delivery drivers can help ensure their own safety with these tips:
- Practice safe driving techniques. Monitor blind spots, travel at safe speeds and reduce speed in work zones, keep up with regular vehicle maintenance, adjust driving techniques in bad weather, load cargo safely, and reduce speeds on curves to prevent your vehicle and cargo from tipping over.
- Know your territory. Be familiar with the delivery area and your route.
- Avoid muscle strain. Use material handling equipment such as a cart or dolly to move heavier items from the vehicle to the delivery site.
- Watch your step. Look out for slip, trip and fall hazards when delivering the goods.
- Limit cash. Restrict the amount of money that you carry on yourself or keep in the vehicle.
- Conceal cash. Keep any money hidden from sight.
- Park close. Park as close to the delivery site as possible; always try to park near the delivery door.
- Be aware of your surroundings. Take note of any vehicles that may be following you.
- Only deliver to valid addresses. Make sure that you are not delivering to an unoccupied home or business. Signs of vacancy may include an unkempt yard and no lights. If lights are off, ask your employer to do a call back and request that the customer turn on a light.
- Do not deliver to hotel rooms. Never deliver food to a hotel or motel room; only deliver to the main desk.
- Stay in well-lit areas. Park under a street light, if possible.
- Carry a flashlight. Keep a flashlight handy in case you have to walk to a side door or back of a building.
Being a deliver driver is considered one of the most dangerous jobs around. Thousands of deliver drivers are injured or killed each year due to vehicle accidents, injuries while performing the delivery, or crime while completing a delivery. While it is the responsibility of the employer to provide a safe working environment for their employees, it is also the responsibility of the employee to practice workplace safety.
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