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Safety in Paradise

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Osha's Distracted Driving Initiative

OSHA’s top priority is keeping workers safe. The leading cause of worker fatalities year after year is motor vehicle crashes. Texting while driving – the latest, most dangerous form of distracted driving – is a fast-growing hazard that endangers everyone. Because millions of workers’ jobs require them to spend part or all of their work day driving ― visiting clients and customers, making site visits, or delivering goods and services ― the Departments of Labor (DOL) and Transportation (DOT) and other safety agencies, organizations and allies have joined forces in a campaign to stop distracted driving and save lives.

OSHA is asking employers to do their part by declaring their vehicles “text-free zones” and reinforcing that declaration with worker education and with policies that explicitly ban texting while driving. OSHA is also asking employers to revise any practice and procedure, written or unwritten, that either condones or requires drivers to text behind the wheel as a necessary part of doing their job.

Employers have a special role to play in this effort because of their legal obligation under the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSH Act) to protect workers’ safety. On OSHA’s distracted driving webpage, you’ll find a letter to employers and a video in which David Michaels, the Assistant Secretary of Labor who heads OSHA, lays out the safety challenge posed by texting and driving and employers’ roles in addressing this challenge. Also available on the webpage is a Distracted Driving: No Texting brochure which explains to employers and supervisors the importance of never requiring texting by their workers while driving.

For questions on this or other workplace safety and health issues please contact the UVICELL Safety In Paradise OSHA Consultation Program, on St. Thomas at 693-1146; St. Croix at 713-1619; or via email at safetyinparadise@uvi.edu .

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