by Bill Grieb

Vehicle accidents are one of the major causes of workplace injury. They include traffic accidents and in-house accidents involving forklifts.

Vehicle Safety Guidelines

All company vehicles and equipment should be operated in a safe manner, and drivers should adhere to all applicable laws. The driver is totally responsible for safe operation of the equipment. Accidents or damage must be reported to the supervisor by the vehicle’s driver.

Safety depends on the cooperation between each employee who has been entrusted with the responsibility of driving a company vehicle or their own vehicle while conducting company business.

To reduce vehicle accidents and limit your liability resulting from driver negligence, you may want to adopt a driver safety program.

Use of Personal Vehicles

Before employees can use their personal vehicles for company business, they should provide proof that they own the vehicle or have authorization from the registered owner to drive it for their work. Make sure a copy of the vehicle’s registration, a letter, or similar document has been supplied to the employee’s supervisor and kept on file.

When using their own personal vehicles for company business, employees must show proof that they have Auto insurance as required by law in their state. A copy of the employee’s current policy must be given to his or her supervisor and kept in the personnel files. When an insurance policy expires, a copy of the renewal must be supplied.

Transporting Employees

When several employees are transported in a van, bus, or truck, the operator must have a license appropriate for the class of vehicle being driven, and the vehicle must be equipped with adequate seats. Lamps, brakes, horns, windshields, mirrors, and turn signals should be in good repair. The vehicles must also be provided with handrails, steps, stirrups, or similar devices for mounting or dismounting.

Employees are prohibited from riding on top of any load that can shift, topple, or otherwise become unstable.

When tools with sharp edges are carried in passenger compartments, they must be placed in closed boxes or containers that cannot shift or topple.

Employee-transport vehicles must carry at least two reflective-type flares. A fully charged fire extinguisher in good condition should also be kept.

Vehicle Safety Rules

  1. Only authorized individuals are allowed to operate company vehicles. Operators are required to have a proper drivers license for the class of vehicle they are operating.
  2. Do not operate any vehicle that you do not feel comfortable handling in both routine and emergency situations. Get training if needed.
  3. Do not operate any vehicle if your ability is impaired by medication, alcohol, or drugs.
  4. Before using a vehicle, go over the Vehicle Safety Checklist. Do not operate any vehicle with a mechanical problem or that is defective in any way.
  5. Inspect brakes, horn, steering, tires, and lights daily. Adjust seat, mirrors, and so forth before operating a vehicle.
  6. Carry a first aid kit and fire extinguisher in the vehicle at all times.
  7. Always wear seat belts and make sure all passengers are wearing them.
  8. Never carry passengers on the outside of a vehicle. No one should ever ride in the beds of trucks.
  9. Secure all tools and equipment. Set the brake and remove key when leaving vehicle.
  10. Drive courteously and defensively. Pay attention to your driving. Take a break if you feel at all tired or drowsy. STAY ALERT.
  11. Obey all safety rules. OBEY SPEED RULES.
  12. Always check mirrors and turn around and look before backing up.
  13. Report all accidents immediately but do not discuss responsibility until you have talked to your supervisor.


General Rules

  • All operators must be trained and certified at least annually.
  • Plant conditions and operator duties should be reviewed at least annually and when any changes occur.
  • All rules must be enforced.
  • Safety and training records should be maintained.

Operating Rules

  • Only authorized, trained, licensed drivers are permitted to operate equipment.
  • There should be no stunt driving or horseplay.
  • No one should ride on the forks of lift trucks.
  • No part of the body should be outside running lines or other areas where shear or crushing hazards exist.
  • No one is permitted to pass or work under elevated portion.
  • Vehicles should be checked at least once per shift for horn, lights, tires, battery, controller brakes, steering, cooling, and lift system.
  • Immediately tag any unsafe vehicle and remove it from service.
  • Drivers should not exceed authorized or safe speed.
  • Drivers should not pass at blind spots or in dangerous locations.
  • Where vision is obstructed at cross aisles, drivers should sound the horn.
  • Loads shall be carried behind the vehicles if they obstruct the front view.
  • Drivers should look ahead and not move until certain that all persons are clear of the vehicle.
  • Operators must not drive up to anyone standing in front of a fixed object.
  • Drivers should ascend and descend grades slowly. If the grade exceeds 10%, keep the load upgrade.
  • Carry the fork as low as possible.
  • When leaving a vehicle unattended, the operator should shut off power, remove the key, set the brake, bring the mast to vertical, and bring forks to the down position.
  • During dismount of a load, engaging means should be lowered, controls neutralized, and brakes set.
  • Vehicles should not be used on elevators without authorization. Make sure the elevator capacity is not exceeded. Set the brake and shut off power.
  • Driving should be done only on floors or platforms that will safely support both vehicle and load.
  • Check the flooring of trucks, trailers, and railroad cars for brakes or other structural weakness before driving them.
  • Smaller vehicles should be driven in or out of trucks or trailers only when the latter are securely blocked or the brakes set.
  • Follow PUC guidelines with respect to railroad cars.
  • Vehicles should be kept at least one tire width from the edge of any elevated dock, platform, freight car, or truck.
  • Railroad tracks should be crossed diagonally whenever possible.
  • Loads should not exceed rated capacity.
  • No load should be moved until it is safely secured. Care should be taken when tilting loads.
  • Place any load-engaging device in a manner such that the load is securely held and supported.
  • Special precautions should be taken by trucks with attachments when securing and handling loads and during operation after the loads have been removed.

If you are using forklifts and don’t have a training program, Safety Information Currents offers a FORKLIFT CERTIFICATION BOOK (developed by Safety Compliance) for $59.95. Call Sylvia, (310) 454-2100, for details or to order this manual.

C – A – R – S

Employee Safe Driving Agreement

I hereby agree to abide by the following driving guidelines:


  • Operate only those vehicles I am trained and licensed to operate. Operate only those vehicles I am approved by my supervisor to operate.


  • Always check vehicle for defects and adjust safety devices such as seat belts and mirrors before operating.
  • Never operate any vehicle when impaired by fatigue, medication, drugs, or alcohol or vehicles that I do not feel capable of handling in both normal and emergency situations.


  • Obey all laws, rules, regulations, and company policies. Use common sense and adjust speed and operation to conditions and possible hazards or dangers.


  • Operate vehicles in a courteous manner, irrespective of behavior of others. Drive defensively anticipating possible dangers or hazards.
Employee Signature