The owner of ABC Timber Resources allowed an employee to borrow a company-owned vehicle for a weekend camping trip. The employee drove the vehicle to a remote wooded area to camp and told the owner he would scout the area as a potential logging site while he was there.
The employee was talking on his cell phone as he drove the vehicle on a one lane logging road to the camp site. While navigating a blind turn, he collided head-on with an oncoming vehicle. The logging employee was not wearing a seat belt and was ejected from the vehicle and injured. The company-owned vehicle sustained major damage and was in a repair shop for several weeks. The driver of the other vehicle sustained minor injuries and his vehicle was totaled.
The state police cited both drivers for speeding, however, the driver of the oncoming vehicle sued ABC Timber Resources for damages.
Following the incident, ABC Timber Resources hired a safety consultant to assist in reviewing and revising their safety program and guidelines. As part of the new safety program, ABC Timber Resources held an employee meeting to review the accident, as well as the new safety procedures the consultant helped develop to prevent future incidents.
Risk Factor #1
The company owner did not have a strict policy prohibiting employees’ personal use of company vehicles.
Risk Factor #2
The driver’s actions indicate an ineffective safety culture and a lack of clear communication and enforcement. Safety guidelines and rules need to be written, reviewed frequently with all employees, and consistently enforced by management.