Assess the Need for Trips

  • Eliminate whatever trips you can. Can meetings be held online or via conference call? Can the work be delayed or re-scheduled? Can your workers visit clients or customers at a later date? Is it really so important that it can’t wait?
  • If your workers must drive, plan and schedule trips. When is the safest time to drive? Which routes have fewer hazards? Review Winter Driving Hazards to help you assess risk.
  • If trips can’t be postponed or cancelled, know before you go. Check weather conditions regularly – every day, or every hour as conditions dictate. Depending on the length of the trip, workers should check departure and destination weather, and even the long-term forecast depending on their return travel plans. Sure, it’s good to go now, but what if there’s a severe cold snap forecast for the planned return date? Check these sources for weather and highway information:
  • If weather conditions are worsening or severe, do not let workers set off.
  • Make sure all supervisors and workers know that they must put safety before driving. If drivers are unsure or concerned about conditions, they need to stay put.
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Winterize Vehicles

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Prepare Your Workers

  • Implement your winter driving safe work procedures. See sample procedure, modifying as needed for your workplace. Make sure your workers understand and follow the procedure. Correct any unsafe work practices.
  • Distribute What Workers Need to Know tip sheet to all workers who drive in winter weather.
    • Regularly communicate with workers about winter driving safety. This needn’t be formal. Just anytime you’re getting together with them. Here are some ways you can do this:
    • Distribute hard copies or via email – whichever works best for your situation.
    • Remember to include all workers who drive for work purposes – whether they drive full-time or only occasionally, and whether they drive a fleet or personal vehicle.
    • Encourage all of your workers to visit to download the three winter driving tip sheets to use and share with family members who drive.
  • Post the Shift into Winter posters in your lunch room or other high-traffic location.
  • Review emergency arrangements should your workers get in a crash, have a breakdown, or get stuck. Distribute the Survival/Emergency Checklist capsule tip.
  • Make sure your workers understand and comply with your working alone procedures if they are required to drive on routes where assistance is not readily available.
  • Review What Employers Need to Know or What Supervisors Need to Know tip sheets for an overview of your responsibilities and key messages. The Worker tip sheet and the capsule tips include specific driving guidance, and are easily shareable with workers.
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Educate and Communicate

A worker may refuse to carry out a work process – including driving for work – that he/she believes is unsafe. See Section 3.12 of the OHS Regulation for procedures to follow.

  • Regularly communicate with workers about winter driving safety. This needn’t be formal. Just anytime you’re getting together with them. Here’s some ways you can do this:
    • Schedule regular distribution of relevant capsule tips.
      • Use email; review at beginning of shift; or post the tips. You can send out via email each Monday morning, for example. Or increase font size and post.
      • Be prepared to distribute tips at any time. For example, is heavy rain forecasted? Re-send relevant tips throughout the winter.
    • Remind workers of winter weather driving hazards – and what they need to do to eliminate or minimize risk – in meetings, before shifts, and at other times workers are gathering. Use tailgate meeting guides in informal meetings or discussions. Use the PowerPoint presentation in a staff meeting or working session, when you have access to a projector. Chat one-on-one with your workers to stay apprised of their concerns.
  • Instruct workers to check road and weather conditions before setting out on any trip – both departure and destination conditions. They can visit Drive BC and listen to, watch or access local news and weather sources.
  • Instruct workers that if they must drive, to plan around the weather conditions. Choose less vulnerable routes, allow more time, stay put somewhere safe if they’re on the road and conditions worsen. Confirm that workers are actively trip planning. If they’re not, review the trip planning process with them, and confirm that they understand it.
  • Make sure all your workers understand winter driving hazards and what they can do to eliminate or minimize risk, whether or not they drive for work.
  • If new winter driving hazards are identified, assess the risk, put in measures to eliminate or minimize the risk, and ensure drivers know about the hazards and what to do.
  • Encourage your workers to provide feedback about driving-related safety concerns during tailgate meeting guide and in safety meetings. Instruct them to report hazards or concerns immediately to their supervisor. Assess the risks and follow up.
    • Instruct workers to report all MVIs that occur while on the job – including close calls. Your incident investigations will help you plan for next winter.
    • Reward or acknowledge safe driving actions and decisions.
  • Finally, set aside time and resources to review the After Winter section in the spring and the Before Winter section in summer to prepare for next winter.
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