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Employee Gets In Accident - Should I Reprimand?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by JimLewis, Oct 10, 2002.

  1. JimLewis

    JimLewis LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,872

    This question mostly for those of you with at least a few years of experience managing several employees:

    My foreman rear-ended someone last night. It was his fault. He just about totalled the other car. But miraculously, our truck seems to be in perfect working order.

    Anyway, I am at a loss as to whether I should reprimand him and how to do it if so. He's one of our best employees and the most responsible of them. He's worked here about 2 years and never had an accident or ticket or anything in our trucks before.

    He puts about 40-50K in miles on his work truck each year so I have to expect with that much driving there's going to eventually be an accident.

    Still, he is at fault and it's me who will be paying for insurance increases and would have had to pay for damage to our truck if there were any. And that doesn't make me real happy.

    He doesn't seem to be a bad driver in general. Had a perfect driving record before this. No tickets, accidents, nothing.

    What do ya do in a case like that? Do you reprimand him? Or do you just consider it part of doing business and don't say anything to him?
  2. 65hoss

    65hoss LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,360

    Get full details first. Talk with the other guy in the truck with him. Find out if he was going to fast, to close, etc. Get all the facts. With the record he has in the past I would be careful how you handle it. If you find out he was going fast or following to closely then maybe a training session with all employees is in order. He gets the point and everyone gets the experience.

    Such as: "In light of the recent accident I want to make sure we all benefit from this. We are an example to the community and with our trucks people recognize us. I want us to impress people. Remember to allow extra room following cars. We have a truck and trailer to stop, so in an emergency situation it will take extra room. Being prepared ahead of time is key. Remember this doesn't just make my insurances go up, but things go on your driving record. Your insurance will go up once they find out about wrecks. We don't want costs to go up on either of us. etc, etc, etc........"

    TALLEY-HOE Guest
    Messages: 0

    He has worked for you 2 years with a clean record? He is someone you can trust? He gets work done? Hey! Accidents are going to happen in this business. I know your not happy with what happened, but how do you think your worker feels. Just be glad no one was hurt real bad. Explain to him that safety comes first & that with his position in your company you are depending on him to be more careful. Tell him he is a valued worker & your glad to have him with your company. Good workers are hard to find!.
  4. SIG

    SIG LawnSite Member
    Messages: 188

    Was it raining??
  5. HarryD

    HarryD LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,068

    s**t happens tell him to be more careful and move on not worth the trouble of getting upset about it

    do you have brakes on your trailers ? was it wet out ? does not take much for a old truck like the ones you use to skid with no anti lock brakes . im betting it was wet out oil on the roads makes it slick and im sure with your location it sprinkles alot
  6. greensummer

    greensummer LawnSite Member
    from canada
    Messages: 93

    In my opinion, do not be "hard" on your reprimand(based upon your information).

    Let him know that this was an accident and to be careful next time. Its important to maintain a healthy relationship with one of many "important employee(s)."
  7. AztlanLC

    AztlanLC LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,050

    I think everybody agrees, accidents happen and the same way you turned a bad situation into a good one(guy pissing in front of a neighboor) there's a way that the rest of your workers can benefit from this accident, drive more safetly, check every trailer and have everybody propose ideas on how to avoid this kind of things from happening again, and not just driving but at the jobs too. Mower and trimmer can cause the same or even more damage than a truck.
    Take care of your good workers and they'll take care of you

    I had a car accident long, long time ago when I used to work for somebody else, like your guy I never had any accident before or tickets but I felt very terrible about it I tought I was goin to get fired, which I dind't, but from that time on I have't had any accidents anymore (nock on wood) not even a ticket.
  8. JimLewis

    JimLewis LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,872

    It was a nice dry 65 degree sunny day. He wasn't pulling a trailer. We have new disc brakes on that truck that work great. No oil. No rain.

    What happened was the guy ahead of him was in a turn lane, turning left. My employee was behind him a little bit also wanting to turn left. The light turned yellow. The guy in front stopped. My employee just figured they both had enough time to get through the light and assumed the first guy was going to go for it.

    By the time he realized the guy wasn't going for it, he was already at full speed and couldn't brake fast enough.

    It was negligent enough to where he should have probably known better. But I agree, I don't know that with his record I should reprimand him other than what you guys said above.
  9. GreginAlaska

    GreginAlaska Banned
    Messages: 829

    I would just make a written policy that states all vehicle violations will be recorded. That means collisions, tickets, parking lot fender benders etc. Say 3 violations in a 3 year rolling period will result in termination. Say that any blatant "accidents" ( excessive speed, talking on a cell phone, DWI, etc) will result in immediate termination.

    It has greatly reduced the vehicle incedences where I work.
  10. Craig Turf Management

    Craig Turf Management LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 354

    Jim, You just gave this fellow a glowing testimonial. He is responsible, never had an accident etc. We all have accidents eventually. That's why God invented insurance. He knows he screwed up. Was he under the influence of anything? If not, give him a break. At least this time. Just my opinion, Bill Craig!

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