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When Ignoring Work Calls Could Save Your Life

SAIF reports more than 10,000 motor vehicle claims over the last 10 years.

During distracted driving month in April, you’ll see lots of information about how to reduce motor vehicle accidents. But what role do Oregon’s employers play?

“I know I’m legally not supposed to check my phone while I’m driving,” said Leigh Manning, senior safety management consultant at SAIF. “But if my boss called, and I didn’t know what the expectations were, I would be tempted to pick up.”

That’s why SAIF is releasing new information on the impact motor vehicle crashes have on Oregon workers, and how managers can put policies in place to help reduce distracted driving.

SAIF also released a video to remind employers to set expectations about safe driving.

The leading cause of worker death in Oregon, and nationwide

Since 2008, SAIF has handled claims for nearly 100 worker fatalities in Oregon resulting from a motor vehicle crash or rollover, or from being struck by a motor vehicle–more than any other cause of fatality.

In that same time, SAIF received claims for more than 10,700 injuries from motor vehicles. Nearly two-thirds were the result of a crash with another vehicle.

“SAIF only tracks workers’ comp claims, so these numbers are limited to people who were driving as part of their work duties or were struck by a vehicle while on the job,” said Manning. “You can imagine the number is much higher when you consider people who may have been distracted by a work call outside of work hours.”

According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, motor vehicle accidents surpass violence and slips, trips, and falls as the leading cause of workplace deaths nationwide.

What employers can do

SAIF encourages employers to draft a safe driving policy, and set expectations with employees around responding to work calls and emails while driving.

“Oftentimes managers don’t know their worker is driving when they call; they aren’t intending to cause a distraction,” said Manning. “By clearly setting expectations with your employees, you can ensure they’re paying attention to the road and not worrying about your call.”

More information on safe driving can be found at

Manning adds, “nothing is as important as arriving safely.”

About SAIF

SAIF is Oregon’s not-for-profit workers’ compensation insurance company. Since 1914, we’ve been taking care of injured workers, helping people get back to work, and striving to make Oregon the safest and healthiest place to work. For more information, visit

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