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Motor Vehicle Incidents

What are motor vehicle incidents?
In the past 20 years, the number of Ontario citizens who died or were injured as a result of motor vehicle incidents (MVIs) has been trending downwards, making our province a road safety leader in North America. Yet, according to the WSIB (2005-2009):

  • motor vehicle collisions on Ontario roads are the greatest single cause of, and accounted for more than 30% of all Ontario worker fatalities—making MVIs the biggest risk Ontarians face each day they go to work;
  • this number increases to 45% when we include powered industrial vehicles or powered mobile industrial equipment in the workplace; i.e. vehicles used to lift and move material, such as forklifts, pallet trucks, walkie stackers and scissor lifts.

What the law says
Ontario’s Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) requires that employers take every reasonable precaution to protect workers, provide information and instruction, and ensure that workers properly use or wear the required equipment. Employers, supervisors and workers can be prosecuted for not complying with the law.

How motor vehicle safety affects your business
In 2007, the Ministry of Transportation shared information relevant to all businesses*:

  • 765 people were killed and more than 67,000 injured as a result of motor vehicle incidents on our roads and in our workplaces
  • These numbers represent 8.6 fatalities and 750 injuries for every 100,000 licensed drivers in Ontario
  • On an average day in Ontario, motor vehicle collisions will kill more than two people and injure more than 180 others

*Source: Ontario Road Safety Annual Report, 2007

Here are the four major factors leading to these fatalities:

  1. drinking and driving: 27% of total fatalities
  2. large truck crashes: 22%
  3. driver speed: 21%
  4. unbelted occupants: 20%

These are the top three driver conditions and actions that contribute to fatal collisions:

  1. impairment as a result of alcohol or drugs
  2. being inattentive (e.g., from fatigue or distractions)
  3. aggressive behaviour, such as driving too fast

What you can do
As an employer:

  • If you have workers that drive for your business, put policies and procedures in place to promote responsible driving.
  • Reward sustained responsible driving.
  • Monitor workplace driving to ensure that your workers are following your policies and procedures.

As a driver

  • Slow down: drive within the speed limit and adjust your speed for weather and road conditions. Follow vehicles at a safe distance.
  • Relax: in stressful driving conditions, take a deep breath and relax. An aggressive state of mind will come through in your driving behaviour.
  • Stay alert: don’t drive until you are mentally and physically able to. If you become drowsy or uncomfortable, pull over immediately and take a break.
  • Plan ahead: plan your route before you start out. If you’re unfamiliar with where you’re going, check your map or plot the route with GPS, before you start off.
  • Buckle up: wearing a seat belt is the law and it could end up saving your life. Wearing your seat belt properly will dramatically increase your chances of surviving a motor vehicle collision. If you are the driver, ensure all children 16 years and under are properly secured.
  • Don’t drink and drive: refuse to ride with someone who may be impaired. Plan ahead: choose a designated driver before going out or set some money aside for a taxi.

Sector Specific Information

Workplace Safety & Prevention Services

At WSPS, we’ll work in partnership with your firm to generate solutions, help you implement those solutions and build your capabilities around health and safety programs that sustain the improvements. Whether your industry is agricultural, manufacturing or service, we’re here to help.


Safe Driving: Backing Up (English) (1 hour)
This course is designed to help you reduce the chances of becoming involved in an incident while backing up a vehicle. You will learn the seven fundamentals of safe backing.
Safe Driving: Backing Up (French) (1 hour)
This course is designed to help you reduce the chances of becoming involved in an incident while backing up a vehicle. You will learn the seven fundamentals of safe backing.


Certification Part Two - Driving Hazards
This Certification Part Two hazard module is focused on recognizing, assessing and controlling motor vehicle and driving hazards in the workplace.


Preparing a Boat for Body Work or Repainting
This guideline highlights the hazards associated with preparing a boat for body work or repainting and provides safe work guidelines to reduce or eliminate risk.
258 KB pdf
Removing and Installing Fuel Tanks in Boats
This guideline provides details about the hazards associated with removing and installing fuel tanks in boats and offers safe work guidelines to avoid risk of injury.
274 KB pdf
Changing Engine Oil in Inboard Motors
This guideline provides information about the hazards associated with changing engine oil in inboard motors and offers safe work guidelines to minimalize or eliminate the hazard.
265 KB pdf
Pumping Out Sewage
Pumping sewage from boats may expose you to infectious agents including contaminated water.  This guideline helps identify the hazards and provides safe work guidelines.
225 KB pdf
Working with Tires and Rim Assemblies
Safe work practices associated with deflating and inflating tires, and mounting and dismounting tire and rim assemblies (including trucks) are outlined in this guideline.
298 KB pdf
Removing Miscellaneous Parts
Different parts present different hazards; same removal requires caution and attention.
271 KB pdf
Removing Transmissions
There are many phsyical hazards related to removing transmissions, including electrical shock, slippery floors, sharp edges, falling debris, noise and weight.
268 KB pdf
Replacing Brake Drums, Shoes or Pads
Replacing brakes may expose you to dangerous chemicals, asbestos dust, sharp edges and musculoskeletal disorders.
279 KB pdf
Towing and Launching Boats from Trailers and Trucks
This guideline covers the hazards and safe work procedures associated with towing and launching boats from trailers and trucks.
298 KB pdf
Removing Engines
Removing engines exposes you to hazards from gasoline, solvents, other flammables, oils, other lubricants, Freon and sulphuric acid, as well as improper use of tools and awkward positioning.
268 KB pdf
Agricultural Tractor Safety
Tractors are involved in many farm accidents--accounting for about two-thirds of all fatalities.  Manufacturers have added many safety features, but these do not replace a trained operator who is aware of the potential hazards of operating a tractor safely.
381 KB pdf
Body Work and Repainting Vehicles
Preparing vehicles for body work or repainting involves many hazards to the eyes, skin, hearing and breathing.
306 KB pdf
Removing Air Conditioner Parts
Removing air conditioning parts in vehicles can expose a worker to health and safety hazards, as well as environmental concerns.
485 KB 
Doing a Circle Check on Your Truck
Completing a circle check is an important step in ensuring your safety, and the safety of others.
413 KB 


Asleep at the wheel: lessons from the Bronx commuter train derailment

Recent revelations from the fatal derailment in the Bronx, NY points to sleepiness as a possible cause. The union representing the train engineer told media two days later that he dozed off for just a moment prior to the crash. While the investigation may uncover other contributing factors, this may be a good opportunity for us to reflect on our own safety.

Dec 10, 2013
Driving as we knew it

Fact 1: Depending on the source you want to quote, driver error contributes to 90-95% of fatal motor vehicle crashes. The other few percentage points are split between vehicle malfunction or driver incapacity. As the design and reliability of cars and tires have improved over the decades, fatal malfunctions are becoming rarer. Driver incapacity due to strokes, seizures and heart attacks are on the rise.

Sep 19, 2013
Are those features in that new company car safe?
Most people are pretty aware of their new car’s features and options. But not so much among people who drive company cars. These features are often chosen without driver input, and this could affect driver safety.
Jun 12, 2013
Engaging workers in reducing motor vehicle incidents

You and your co-workers may be an untapped resource in reducing the risk of motor vehicle incidents and a proven way to enable and sustain change, according to the results of a survey conducted for Health & Safety Ontario by Montana State University’s Center for Health and Safety Culture.

Jan 22, 2013
Safe winter driving: six hazards and how to manage them
Unpredictable winter weather conditions and fewer hours of light can place extra demands on your vehicle and your driving skills. Heed the following hazards and precautions.
Dec 13, 2011
A new way to transform road safety culture in Ontario
The biggest risk Ontarians face each day as they go to work is a collision on the road. Motor vehicle incidents continue to be the greatest single cause of, and account for more than 30% of, all Ontario worker fatalities. This number increases to 45% when we include powered industrial vehicles or mobile industrial equipment in the workplace.
Aug 23, 2011
Farm Guide: Farm Equipment on the Highway
This Ministry of Transportation site offers general information and clarification on laws applying to farm equipment and select provisions applying to farm trucks.
Jul 22, 2011
Putting the Brakes on MVIs
Motor vehicle collisions account for more than 45% of all Ontario worker fatalities when vehicles used to lift and move material are included. How to reduce the carnage? “If you want to have a positive effect on group behaviour,” says Dr. Jeff Linkenbach, director of the Center for Health and Safety Culture at Montana State University in Bozeman, MT, “we’re going to need positive approaches.”
Apr 07, 2011


Motor Vehicle Safety: From Emergency Room to Prevention Culture
A bold, new perspective on motor vehicle safety presented by Dr. Louis Francescutti, an E.R. doctor from Alberta, and President, Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons.  "Regard these injuries and trauma as a 'disease' to challenge current assumptions," he states while attending the Motor Vehicle Safety Institute held at Ontario's Centre for Health & Safety Innovation (CHSI).  Further insights regarding "communities of practice" based upon the Science of the Positive are provided by Dr. Jeff Linkenbach, Senior Research Scientist and Director of Western Transporation Institute, Montana State University.

The Honourable Steve Mahoney, P.C. and Chair of the Workplace Safety & Insurance Board, links these complementary issues in his conference summary.
Nov 14, 2011
2010 Motor Vehicle Safety Summit Review

Motor vehicle incidents account for more than 30% of all Ontario worker fatalities (Workplace Safety and Insurance Board).  That’s why Health & Safety Ontario (HSO) hosted a Motor Vehicle Safety Summit at the Centre for Health & Safety Innovation in Mississauga on October 26, 2010.

Jun 01, 2011


Opportunity to Participate in the Pilot Project!

The Workplace Safety and Prevention Board (WSIB) has funded an effort to reduce motor vehicle incidents through Health & Safety Ontario (HSO).  Health & Safety Ontario, in collaboration with a stakeholder-driven Motor Vehicle Safety Action Committee (MVS AC), is partnering with Montana State University's Center for Health and Safety Culture to support the research and development of this strategy.

Feb 07, 2012