Over the course of my more than 30-year career in the health and safety profession, I have seen often dramatic changes in workplace function and exposures, perhaps none more so than the rise of the Internet and the connected world. This innovation led to dramatic changes in the way that business is conducted. Gone was the familiar row after row of work desks in the centralized office workplace. Today, telecommuting employees have become increasingly more common. According to a recent Gallup Poll, in 1995, only 9% of the workforce telecommuted; today, 37% of workers' say they telecommute, a more than 400% increase. Among college graduates, 55% say they telecommute. This change brought new exposures, and elevated existing exposures to new levels.
Despite this workplace change, many businesses still view workers' compensation and business auto coverages as separate, stand-alone coverages from a risk management prospective. Fleet safety programming is often delegated to a fleet manager in larger organizations or as an additional duty to another management level employee in smaller companies. Workers' compensation, on the other hand, is usually handled by a human resources department or a benefits manager.
Few organizations, except the savviest, grasp the powerful interplay these two seemingly unrelated coverages have on a risk management and insurance program. Fewer still have a cohesive risk-management approach to address this dynamic. This paper will discuss the altered insurance and workplace safety landscape for businesses, and offer some insight into practical fleet safety solutions.