Posted: April 18, 2014
According to OSHA, citing the Bureau of Labor Statistics, two out every five fatal work injuries in 2010 were a result of motor vehicle crashes. In a recent update, OSHA clearly stated that employers have a responsibility to protect their workers by prohibiting texting while driving. According to OSHA, employers are in violation of the OSHA Act if they require workers to text while driving, create incentives that encourage or condone it, or structure work so that texting while driving is a practical necessity for workers to carry out their job.
While there are no specific standards covering this situation, it is clear that federal and state OSHA will cite an employer who condones, allows, requires or ignores an employee texting while driving company vehicles. This would have a direct applicability to drivers of removal vehicles and processional vehicles driven by a funeral director's employees.
OSHA has created a specific distracted driving web page, www.osha.gov/distracted-driving, which offers free access OSHA's new distracted driving brochures and other materials available to assist employers in training employees not to text while driving.
The page also states: "When OSHA receives a credible complaint that an employer requires texting while driving or who organizes work so that texting is a practical necessity we will investigate and where necessary issue citations and penalties to end this practice."
These citations and penalties would be issued under the OSHA General Duty Clause that requires, among other things, that employers provide employment that is safe and healthful and free from recognized hazards.
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