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OSHA to Employers: No Emailing or Texting While Driving

Posted November 11, 2011

According to a recent statement made by OSHA Assistant Secretary Dr. David Michaels, employers cannot require or condone workers sending or reading text or e-mail messages while driving. He stated: "Companies are in violation of the Occupational Safety and Health Act if, by policy or practice, they require texting while driving or create incentives that encourage or condone it, or they structure work so that texting is a practical necessity for workers to carry out their job."

When OSHA receives a credible complaint that an employer requires texting or emailing while driving or organizes work so that texting is a practical necessity, OSHA will investigate and, where necessary, issue citations and penalties. State OSHA enforcement programs will no doubt adopt a similar enforcement and citation philosophy regarding sending or reading text or e-mail messages while driving.

Employers in funeral service should be aware of Michaels' warning because of employees' use of professional and removal vehicles. OSHA recently partnered with the Department of Transportation to launch an initiative to combat distracted driving. The OSHA website has information on how employers can keep employees safe while driving.

You can read Michaels' full statement here.