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OSHA pushes employers to eliminate hostile ‘texting’ environment

The Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 sets out the duty that employers have to eliminate serious recognized hazards in the workplace that could cause injury to those that they employ. Did you know that the number one cause of workplace fatalities is car accidents?

Traffic safety campaigns have made it impossible to ignore the fact that texting while driving contributes to a large percentage of fatal vehicle accidents. Why then do some employers fail to prohibit the behavior and even encourage it in some situations? The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has teamed up with the Department of Labor in a campaign to create a nationwide zero tolerance policy for texting while on the job.

The campaign was launched on the back of the Executive Order signed by President Obama in 2012 restricting texting while driving by federal employees. The OSHA initiative was announced during Drive Safely Work Week  with the goal of targeting private employers.

Not only do officials want to educate employers about the danger of texting while driving, but they want to encourage employers to create and enforce strict safety policies that prohibit the behavior under any set of circumstances.

OSHA also made it clear that they will take any complaint involving texting while driving very seriously. Agency officials said that any complaint involving an employer who encourages or requires an employee to text while driving a work vehicle will be thoroughly investigated. When a violation is found, the agency said that citations and pentalies will ensue.

Distracted driving not only puts employees at risk, but it places every driver, passenger and pedestrian on a New Jersey road in danger. Those who are injured by a distracted driver should seek the assistance of an experienced attorney.

Source: United States Department of Labor, “OSHA’s Distracted Driving Initiative,” May 21, 2013

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