• Sarah Munro
    Hi all,

    I had a quick look through past questions and couldn't see anything, sorry if this has already been asked.

    What are some things you have done to improve the health and safety of your remote sales staff and main sales staff who are in and out of the office in company vehicles?
    i.e. we have a head office in Auckland but we also have a team dotted down the islands in the BOP, Wellington and Christchurch who use their company vehicle and homes as their base.

    There are all the common suggestions like first aid kits, first aid training, EAP Services offered, safe driver policy and monthly vehicle check.

  • Teena Cleary
    Do you have GPS in your vehicles so you can track where they are if they are unable to be contacted? There are also some good lone working apps that can trigger an alert if someone is in trouble.

    We ask drivers to complete our online safe driving module and we use the EROAD system in our fleet vehicles - all drivers are required to log in and it tracks driver behaviour. Reporting and recording vehicle incidents can also identify any issues/risks.

    Fatigue management is also something that should be considered for staff who drive long distances.
  • Darren Cottingham
    The biggest risk your remote team has is being injured in a vehicle accident, so don't scrimp on that training. Make sure they know the road rules. They can check for free on http://www.drivingtests.co.nz (there are courses, too, which cover things like driving in bad weather, load security, low-speed manoeuvring etc)
    Talk to them about fatigue management and the impact of their lifestyle choices/circumstances on that.
    Don't give them unrealistic schedules to get places - meetings, etc - people rushing to meet deadlines means they increase their risk while driving through either speeding or multitasking.
  • Steve H
    Sort of in line with your comments Darren, in a thread a few months back, staff working away from home at night, couldn't check into their accommodation until 2-3pm and then having to start work at 5pm, whizz back at 3AM in the morning, sleep and shower and be out by 10:am. With most of their sleep taking place in the company vehicle- so sorting out a suitable accommodation pack would be something to add to your list Sarah.
  • Dianne Campton
    Don't forget mobile phones have GPS capability and if your organisation cannot afford other more expensive options this is an alternative.
    Having a set of rules around checking in with remote teams, having good driver training, accommodation that allows late check in and check out are all sound options.
    In companies I have worked with in the past high kilometre drivers all had to go through defensive driving courses to teach them how to avoid accidents and collisions which, to my mind, is gold for these people. Provides them with the "how to get out of trouble" options when they hit things like black ice or flooded roads and other bad drivers.
  • Petra Hakansson
    Adding an interesting case study to the thread... we had a person attend our EMA workshop on lone and remote work and they told the story of how they had a team of sales people on the road who organised their own accomodation and travel schedule based on their region and customer visit schedule. One morning a client called the HO and said their rep hadn't shown up for their meeting which was most unlike her. The HO didn't know exactly where she was staying and she wasn't answering her phone (note here that you can't randomly or quickly find GPS location of someone through their phone without authority and it being a known emergency and if the person is in a building it's unlikely to be accurate, and of course their phone can be flat or turned off). The HO phoned around a list of accomodation providers she was known to use until they found where she was booked in. Turned out she had a medical event through the night and was unconscious. She was still alive and recovered to full health which is a great outcome. It did raise some really interesting problems for the company to solve and resulted in an overhaul of calendar management and visibility, the use of welfare checks on a lone worker app etc. If your drivers are in a lot of areas without cell cover, you really do need to have effective communication and there's some good solutions for that too. Vehicle solutions will only give you the location of the car, not the person, and most solutions are reliant on cell cover to send that location information so if your vehicle has left cell cover, you'll only get the last known location and the rest of the trail will download once they're back in cell cover. Some obvious safety issues around that..... its complex but all solvable with the right help and technology.
  • Sarah Becker
    We have a large number of sales staff on the roads and we use a combination of controls, mostly mentioned above e.g. emergency kits, F/A training, defensive driver training (off road as well) GPS in cars, lone worker apps and devices etc.
    We also encourage teams to keep their outlook calendars up to date and visible to everyone so teams know where they are staying, what farms they are booked to visit and most of our regional teams have also set up whatsapp and messenger groups so check in with each other on, this also helps from a mental health/fatigue point of view as well.
  • Michael Wilson
    I would recommend looking in to gethomesafe or similar to have an automatic check in system. Get home safe is triggered when people call, email or use a list off apps. This reduces the need for the team to check in. It can also be linked to a satellite device if your team go out of cell coverage.
  • Christina Carroll
    We also use Get Home Safe. There is a free invidual version that is flexible to nominate different contacts or the Corporate one which managers can monitor locations of people. As above though it does rely on cell phone coverage. Our reps call their manager to say when they were about to enter a black spot and at what time they expected to return to cell phone coverage. That way we would know if they were overdue and where they we going to be.
  • Petra Hakansson
    Guardian Everywhere (Guardian Angel) also has an app and inReach devices (with app pairing when required to inReach) with check ins and geo fences with entry and exit alerts. There are great tools available so that you don't have to rely on a manager remembering when someone was meant to exit a black spot, or requiring people to remember to call. Those manual systems are fraught with potential failures and also don't provide "effective communication" as per the HSWA guidelines.
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