Work Place Safety ... As Simple as a Seat Belt
By Bill Starr Risk Management Safety Manager Emergency Services Insurance Program
As emergency service providers you have all seen the difference between injuries sustained by drivers and passengers who are involved in motor vehicle accidents who are wearing seat belts compared to those who are not wearing seat belts. Traffic safety facts provided by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) have confirmed that seat belt use can reduce serious crash-related injuries and deaths by 50 percent.
As operators and passengers in emergency apparatus, the risk of an accident is even greater than with the general public. Surprisingly, even though this is a commonly known fact, many emergency responders still do not use their seat belts when answering an emergency call.
As operators and passengers in emergency apparatus, the risk of an accident is even greater than with the general public. Surprisingly, even though this is a commonly known fact, many emergency responders still do not use their seat belts when answering an emergency call. As recently as June of this year we reviewed two emergency vehicle accidents where a fire apparatus left the highway and rolled over. In each case the equipment was a total loss. In one case all of the emergency personnel were wearing seat belts, resulting in minor injuries to the occupants. In the second case the operator of the fire truck was not wearing his seat belt and was killed after being ejected from the vehicle and crushed by the apparatus. Many line of duty deaths in the emergency services industry are caused by vehicle accidents which could have been prevented with the use of a seat belt.
As an emergency service organization it is your responsibility to establish and promote a culture of safety for your community, fellow members and coworkers. Standard Operating Procedures that address requirements for wearing seat belts are in place within most organizations. Enforcing these policies is crucial to the safety of your organization. Your insurance provider has a vested interest in your safety and some may have resources available to aid you and your organization in promoting the use of seat belts. They typically include sample seat belt policies, procedures and on line courses to name just a few. For more information contact your insurance company.
Be safe and buckle up!
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