Managing Safety Performance NewsFlash

Risky Conditions

What’s the highest risk most of us take every day? 

Getting behind the wheel of a vehicle and drive to work. In a typical year in the US, ten times as many of us suffer fatal injuries out on the streets and highways than we do on the job. Most of us spend more time working than we do driving, and face a lot more hazards on the job than we do driving to and from the job.

Why is driving that risky?

Look out your front windshield, the reasons are obvious. Distractions. Weather conditions. Road conditions. Equipment conditions. Behavior of other drivers. Behavior of us as the driver. Culture: how most people drive, most of the time. It’s not one thing; it’s a lot of things!

Does that list sound familiar?

It should, because those reasons look a lot like the tough safety challenges we face at work: attitude, behavior, compliance, complacency, distractions, equipment, environment, fatigue. The list goes on.

But for some reason, when we’re at work we do a much better job at handling those challenges than we do when we are out on the road.

Want a recent example to make the point?

An interstate highway. Early morning rush hour. Major metropolitan area. Icy roads. This is highly hazardous situation, calling for extreme caution. Maybe even the equivalent of stopping the job, which in this case would be staying home, coming in late, or stopping at a roadside rest area till things got better. And safer. 


Doing that might well have kept many of those drivers out of harm’s way.

Paul Balmert
February 2021

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