Minn. Safety Experts Urge Workplace Involvement to Decrease Crashes

September 28, 2004

The biggest threat to the lives of Minnesota workers reportedly comes from one of their most common activities: getting behind the wheel and driving.

In support of National Drive Safely Work Week, Oct. 4-8, the Minnesota Network of Employers for Traffic Safety (Minnesota NETS), the Minnesota Safety Council, and AAA Minnesota/Iowa are urging employers to promote simple steps that can help their employees reduce this risk.

“Traffic incidents are the leading cause of work-related deaths in Minnesota and the U.S. overall,” said Lisa Kons, coordinator of Minnesota NETS and of traffic safety programs for the Minnesota Safety Council. “In addition to the human suffering that results, these crashes pose a huge financial burden for employers.”

The annual costs to Minnesota employers for crash-related injuries on and off-the-job amount to $505,000,000, according to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety.

“Almost 40 percent of lost work hours are due to motor vehicle crashes,” added Jeff Ogden, president of AAA Minnesota/Iowa. “By promoting something as simple as always buckling up, employers can help reduce their employees’ risk of serious injury and death by forty to sixty percent.”

Additional key behaviors employers can target include traveling at a safe and legal speed, paying attention to the road, and driving sober, Kons and Ogden said.

For more information about Drive Safely Work Week and resources for employers, including fact sheets, brochures, an online crash cost calculator and more, visit the Minnesota NETS Web site at http://www.mnsafetycouncil.org/nets .

Minnesota NETS is a project of the Minnesota Safety Council and the Minnesota Department of Public Safety, Office of Traffic Safety. National Drive Safely Work Week is sponsored by the Network of Employers for Traffic Safety (NETS), a nonprofit public-private partnership. The effort provides coordinated resources for employers to help all employees (those who drive on the job and those who do not), avoid traffic crashes.

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