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Compared to the middle of their shifts, commercial drivers are 26% more likely to exhibit unsafe driving than at the start and 41% at the end of their shift. This was measured by four metrics:

  • Harsh Acceleration
  • Harsh Braking
  • Distracted Driving
  • Tailgating

Since Jan. 1, 2020, 2 million such events were detected in U.S. commercial fleets. Shift lengths ranged from four to 12 hours, but these unsafe trends appeared consistent throughout.

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One statistic that jumps out is harsh acceleration. Harsh acceleration occurs 77% more often during the end of the shift than in the middle. That’s nearly double the frequency at the beginning of a shift relative to the middle (39%). Harsh braking has similar results, with 54% more likely at the end versus 28% at the beginning.

Conversely, distracted driving is 36% more likely during the first part of the shift, which is twice as much as at the middle-to-end difference.

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What factors contribute to the skewed results at the beginning and end of a shift?

  • Increased traffic in cities: Moving from local roads to highways (and vice versa) occurs more frequently at the onset or tail-end of a shift, and there are more opportunities for distraction and traffic in these areas.
  • Last-mile stops: Data shows there are more short trips (likely due to deliveries and last-mile stops) at the beginning and end of shifts, causing drivers to stop and start more frequently, which can create more opportunities for unsafe driving behavior.
  • Driver fatigue: Seven hours of sleep per night is recommended, though 37% of drivers do not hit that goal. That grogginess could dull reactions on the road at the start of the shift. And at the end of the shift, fatigue can creep in.

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By receiving an in-cab alert about harsh braking and accelerating, drivers reduced this risky behavior by 40%. Other actions that could curb risky behaviors include sharing this new data in safety meetings or company electronic communication, as well as providing data to a driver during a coaching session to reinforce the safety trainer’s mentoring.

Tim Spear, is a Client Advisor and Partner at Gulfshore Insurance specializing in the construction, oil/petroleum, and landscape industries. Through his consultative and diagnostic approach, he helps clients develop customized programs to meet their risk management needs. Comments and questions are welcome at tspear@gulfshoreinsurance.com

*data used in this article was collected by Samsara.
Gulfshore Insurance is a Naples, Florida based insurance agency specializing in business insurance including liability insurance, property insurance, workers compensation insurance, vehicle insurance, business income interruption insurance, cyber insurance, commercial umbrella insurance, and more. Our insurance and risk management advisors are industry specialists for condominium associations, golf and country clubs, oil and petroleum marketers, construction, landscaping, churches and non-profits, and work comp. Navigating insurance requires an experienced and trusted insurance agent who understands your business risks and exposures. Gulfshore Insurance services Naples, North Naples, Marco Island, Bonita Springs, Fort Myers, Sarasota, Lido Beach, Longboat Key, Bradenton Beach, and Southwest Florida. We have office locations in Naples, Fort Myers, Fort Lauderdale, and Sarasota.

Commercial Lines Top 10 Causes of Disabling InjuriesThe 2020 Liberty Mutual Workplace Safety Index (WSI) found that the most disabling workplace injuries cost more than $59 billion per year.

U.S. businesses spend more than $1 billion per week on the most disabling workplace injuries. Compiled annually,  the Index researched the top 10 causes of the most serious workplace injuries — those that cause employees to miss work for more than five days — and ranked those causes by their direct cost to employers, based on medical and lost-wage expenses.

Top 10 causes of disabling workplace injuries:

Top 10 2020 workplace safety index the top 10 causes of disabling injuries 700b

As businesses reassess and refine business operations, now is a good time to address the many risks that employees can face in the workplace. Liberty Mutual took the Workplace Safety Index (WSI) a step further and broke down the most costly causes of injuries into eight industry-specific reports:

 

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to us for assistance. We are here to help.

Kim Ovaitte, CPCU, ARM is the Executive Vice President of Marketing & Sales at Gulfshore Insurance.  Also serving as the Construction Practice Leader, Kim works with clients to develop cost effective risk management and claims strategies that dovetail with their insurance program. Comments and questions are welcome at kovaitte@gulfshoreinsurance.com

Commercial Lines OSHA Guidance for Oil and Gas Industry Workers and EmployersOSHA has provided guidance for oil and gas industry workers and employers, including those in the sub-industries and tasks that make up the broader oil and gas industrial sector. This guidance supplements the general interim guidance for workers and employers of workers at increased risk of occupational exposure to SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.

Remain aware of changing outbreak conditions, including the spread of the virus and testing availability in your community, and implement infection prevention measures accordingly. As states or regions satisfy the gating criteria to progress through the phases of the Guidelines for Opening up America Again, you will be able to adapt this guidance, along with the general recommendations in OSHA’s Guidance on Returning to Work, to better suit evolving risk levels and necessary control measures in your workplaces.

Click here to continue reading the OSHA Guidance for Oil and Gas Industry Workers and Employers

Dave Wissel is a Client Advisor and Partner at Gulfshore Insurance who specializes in construction, landscaping, and the oil and petroleum industries. Comments and questions are welcome at dwissel@gulfshoreinsurance.com

Commercial Lines Heat IllnessAs we approach the peak heat of the summer season and as employers begin to re-open after months of COVID-19 quarantine, workers may be out of shape, out of practice on workplace safety procedures, and may have to re-breathe hot air through face coverings. As they focus on COVID-19 efforts, employers should remain aware of risks, rule violations, injuries, and heat illness.

Dangers of Hot Environments

Those who work in hot environments could be at risk of heat stress, which can result in heat stroke, heat exhaustion, heat cramps or heat rashes. Heat stress can also result in an increased risk of other injuries as workers can get sweaty palms, fogged up safety glasses and dizziness.

The same people at higher risk of contracting COVID-19- those 65 or older, are overweight, or have heart disease or high blood pressure- are also among those at a higher risk of suffering from heat illness and may need a longer time than others to re-acclimate.

Problems with Face Masks

Face masks required for reducing the spread of COVID-19 could cause further problems as mask-associated facial heat complaints may represent any of a variety of effects, including:

  • local dermal effects
  • increased temperature of breathing air
  • elevated core temperature, or
  • psychophysiological responses.

In short, risks of heat stress can worsen with masks which function like scarves by keeping warm air near the body.

Considerations for Employers

Employers with employees susceptible to heat illness should take efforts to minimize exacerbating effects heat may have in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. Create and implement a heat illness prevention plan and consider adding additional breaks and water stations to help workers regulate their body temperatures.

Tim Spear, is a Client Advisor and Partner at Gulfshore Insurance specializing in the construction, oil/petroleum, and landscape industries. Through his consultative and diagnostic approach, he helps clients develop customized programs to meet their risk management needs. Comments and questions are welcome at tspear@gulfshoreinsurance.com

LegalizedMarijLegalized marijuana, whether medical or recreational, is finding its roots nationwide. In those states that have legalized medical and/or recreational marijuana, employers must understand the relevant legal developments and how they affect the workplace. Currently, 33 states and Washington, D.C., have legalized medical marijuana use, and 10 states have approved both its medical and recreational use. So, what does this mean for employers?

All marijuana use is still illegal under federal law. Marijuana is listed as a Schedule I drug under the Controlled Substances Act, which means that it is deemed to have no medical value and a high potential for abuse. As such, this allows you to continue to consistently enforce your zero-tolerance drug policies, including as it applies to medical marijuana. Accordingly, you should be able to continue to send any employee to random or reasonable suspicion drug testing consistent with your policies and practices, and then enforce your disciplinary policies as it would not matter what kind of illegal drug – including medical marijuana – shows up in the individual’s system.

If you employ individuals in safety-sensitive positions or other jobs that require drug-testing under federal or state guidelines, you will almost certainly want to follow this recommendation. In some cases, you may be required to do so under federal law, such as Department of Transportation (DOT) regulations. In other cases, you will want to do so in order to avoid the risk of having one of your employees cause an accident involving members of the public, coworkers, or simply themselves, which could lead to devastating consequences and employer liability. Any employee who has to drive as part of the job, even if not subject to DOT regulations, should be legally prohibited from being under the influence of marijuana.

Since the passing of the most recent amendment in Florida, employers have worried about what it could mean for drug use in the workplace. Until courts rule otherwise, companies must not tolerate testing positive for marijuana under the drug-free workplace.

Given what we know, there are still many lingering questions, such as:

  • Should I still drug test?
  • Can I refuse to hire an employee who uses medical marijuana?
  • Do I have to accommodate an employee who uses medical marijuana?
  • What effects of medical marijuana can be anticipated on a job site?
  • How do I know if the medical marijuana use is valid?