How long has it been since you have refreshed your team on travel safety?
Sometimes we are so focused on output and daily management that safety does not get the attention it deserves. Our employees are our most valuable asset. We are also busy. When time is taken to improve our safety and health programs and train the team, it is often focused on regulatory and highly hazardous activities.
Periodically we should get back to basics. Nationally, transportation incidents were the most frequent fatal workplace event in 2017, accounting for 40 percent of fatal work injuries. Take the time and remind your team about defensive driving, various weather concerns and most of all, to be responsible with technology to avoid distraction.
Some companies have very intense travel safety planning needs for international travel - from inoculations, to extensive security planning. Most company travel needs are more basic. Reminders about crime, fire and weather safety will suffice.
A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of meeting with Manufacturing Extension Partnership colleagues from all over the country in a city a few states away. There was the usual discussion of everyone's adventures to get there by planes, trains and automobiles. We cannot control everything around us, but we can be diligent in following safety rules such as seat belts, being mindful of displays of cash and technology, where exits are located, what areas are safe to stop, etc. Let someone know your itinerary and when you should arrive so they know when to be concerned.
This meeting was in a GIANT hotel. When I arrived Saturday night and first got into my room, alarms started sounding. People were outside their rooms trying to decipher the unintelligible alert message on the intercom. The hotel was not telling everyone to evacuate, so we mostly ignored until it stopped a few minutes later. My first thought was a fire and how would they get everyone from so many floors down stairs and outside in this downtown major metropolitan. Another colleague said an active shooter was his first reaction. Someone heard it was an AED had been removed and the alarm announcement was about a life saving device. On Monday morning at 5:00 am I went to check out. The alarms started sounding again. I did what I should NOT have, and took the elevator down two floors. The hotel was eerily quiet. I observed a security guard walking and looking. I asked the front desk if the alarms happen regularly and she said they do not and she also was not sure what it was about. What I did not observe this time was the hundreds of people staying in the hotel. They were in their rooms. People were not outside their rooms this time to see what was happening. I presume many slept through it. I have heard travelers say they sleep with ear plugs in to get rest at a hotel. This is the type of thing we should warn against. Remind employees to always map out their escape route to stairs. This hotel had so many floors that no lift could reach most of the occupants. How often do we really look at the map on the door and know where to evacuate or shelter in place? Could you do it in the dark?
Safety training can be comprehensive or short tips shared in meetings and newsletters. It just needs to be intentional. Included below are some additional resources.
If you would like to discuss your occupational safety and health program, IMEC has a team of Technical Specialists to assist. IMEC also proudly participates on the planning committees of DIOSH and SIOSH/SAFETYCON. In 2020, come out and take advantage of the expert speakers and networking with professionals in the field. https://www.imec.org/events/
Additional ResourcesSidestep these 3 common dangers of hotel stays:
Top 12 Hotel Safety Tips Travelers Should Never Ignore:
14 Safety Tips For Business Travelers: