From Valet to Shuttle: How Better Hiring and Training Can Prevent Losses
By Christopher Bolger Senior Risk Manager, Venture Insurance Programs | September 2014
Over the course of several decades, the workplace has become safer, thanks in part to safety and risk management initiatives. The same is true of driving, which has become safer due to air bags, public safety campaigns and several other important factors. But when employees of hotels and other businesses take to the roads in the course of their work, they are still at risk.
In fact, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, transportation incidents are the leading cause of occupational deaths http://www.bls.gov/ across all industries (including hospitality) and a major source of costly insurance claims. Hotels can mitigate this risk through better hiring practices and training for valet attendants and shuttle drivers.
The Risks of Driving on the Job
Motor vehicle accidents are extremely costly in economic terms. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the total economic cost of motor vehicle crashes was $250 billion in 2005; this figure includes lost productivity. In addition, the most costly workers' compensation injury claims result from motor vehicle incidents, says the National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI)https://www.ncci.com/nccimain/pages/default.aspx.
These costs impact the hospitality industry, which has unique risks and exposures inherent to valet and shuttle services. Both carry exposures for workers' compensation and automotive liability for physical damage. Shuttles also have exposure for personal injury liability for guests traveling in the van, while valet insurance must take into account that these employees have vehicles in their "care, custody and control" until they return them to customers.
When accidents do happen, they are the fault of poor driving behavior 90 percent of the time. According to NCCI, driving behaviors like speeding and distracted driving are major contributors to accidents resulting in workers' compensation claims. These facts highlight the need to hire and train drivers for better on-the-road behaviors to reduce such risks.