Make safety a priority, even on the road
William’s boss asks him to use his own car to deliver a package. While on the road, William gets into an accident. Luckily, William walks away with only a few scratches, but his car is badly damaged and is considered a total loss.
“Now I have to pay for this myself”
Luckily, William has good insurance. But he’s not happy, because he gets only partially compensated for the damage (based on the current market value of his car). He asks his boss to pay for the rest of the damage, but his boss does not agree to pay right away. He requires a nudge from the judge first, who rules in favor of William and agrees that the employer is liable for the damages. Only if William had been driving recklessly would he have had to pay for the damages himself.
Many employers don’t know much about liability while on the road. Simply put, there are three situations:
- Being on the road is your profession: your employee may be a driver for example.
- Being on the road for business reasons: your employee may be driving from the office to visit a customer for example.
- Being on the road to drive to and from home: your employee is traveling from home to work, or vice versa.
During the first two situations, the employer is held liable to a great extent. But even during the times that an employee drives home from work, or to work from home, certain circumstances could cause an employer to be held liable in the event of damages.
How often do you ask an employee to use their own car to quickly deliver something? Do you check to make sure the car is in proper working order in those cases? Do you check if the employee has a valid driver’s license, or if the car is up to date on inspections? Employers rarely check for these things. And that’s how legal issues often start. It’s a good idea to think about these things, not just from a legal standpoint, but from a moral standpoint as well.
Just received a text message from your most important client? Don’t text and drive!
What about sending and receiving text messages while driving? More and more countries are making this illegal because it’s extremely dangerous. It’s your job as an employer to warn employees of these dangers. Even when it’s a text message from your most important client. Make sure the car is safely pulled over on the side of the road before you reply.
Employees are a company’s most valuable asset. It’s your job to create a safe working environment for everyone. Don’t just look at work safety as something you “have to” do, it’s something that benefits you as well. Make safety a priority, even on the road.
At ENNIA we deal with employee-related risks all the time, so we know how you can minimize risks in the workplace by taking simple preventative measures. We’d love to share our knowledge with you.
ENNIA Corporate Insurance Specialist