A work environment is more than a physical and geographical setting. It generally refers to all the elements and conditions in which you perform your job.
Under the OSHA act, employers are generally required to provide a workplace that is free from serious health and safety hazards. However, what exactly is considered part of a work environment?
If you’re like most people, you probably think a work environment refers to the space or building where you work. And you would be partially correct.
A work environment is more than a physical and geographical setting. It generally refers to all the elements and conditions in which you perform your job. This may include the organizational culture, the immediate surroundings of your workplace, your working hours, your managers and coworkers, perks and benefits, social interactions at your workplace, machinery and equipment, etc.
Are Cars Considered as a Work Environment?
Yes, workplace cars are generally considered part of the work environment. So if driving is part of your work, your employer should ensure they provide you with working conditions free of known hazards. Here’s how an employer can reduce the risk of work-related car hazards and injuries.
Vehicle Selection, Inspection, and Maintenance
While price and functionality are important in deciding the type of workplace vehicles an employer should invest in, the greater focus should be on safety. Employers should ensure that the vehicles they buy function safely and that all employees are adequately trained to avoid accidents.
It’s also crucial that all the workplace cars are serviced and repaired regularly. Vehicle malfunctions are one of the most common causes of work-related vehicle hazards and injuries.
Poor driving posture and prolonged sitting can lead to an increased risk of back and joint injuries. Employers should generally arrange a vehicle ergonomics assessment to ensure the workplace cars are designed to provide postural comfort to keep such injuries at bay. They can also invest in ergonomic seats to prevent spinal damage and proper head restraint to prevent whiplash injuries.
Employers should also assess the vehicle design from the procurement stage to ensure they will serve their purpose without causing a safety risk to the employees. In addition, employees who operate workplace vehicles should be provided with practical tips and training on proper driving posture and general vehicle ergonomics.
A driver’s performance can be affected by medical conditions and temporary illness. It can also be affected by disabilities such as hearing impairment and shortsightedness, which can risk the driver’s health and passengers. Employers should ensure that the employees they choose to operate workplace vehicles have necessary protective equipment. They should set specific driving hours and stopping points to prevent drivers from getting tired and falling asleep behind the wheel, thus risking destruction of life and property.
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