Journey Management: Must-Know Tips for Keeping Employees Safe

Learn how to use effective journey management to keep employees safe while they’re traveling

journey management plan

Journey Management for Employees in Transit

From transportation and material moving, to healthcare and utilities, countless industries rely on employees to travel long distances alone. A very high-risk activity, it is the organization’s responsibility to ensure that their employees can travel safely from Point A to Point B. Journey management is the process that makes this possible.

In this guide, you will learn what journey management is, why it’s important, and the most important elements involved in effective journey management planning.

What is Journey Management?

Journey management is the process of implementing plans and protocols that reduce travel-related risks and keep drivers safe on the road. The ultimate goal of journey management is to ensure that drivers arrive safely at their destinations. Many organizations only create journey management plans for longer trips (i.e. 4 hours or more), though it is important to remember that accidents can happen any time. Whenever an employee sets out on a journey – no matter how long – there should always be various safeguards in place to protect them from potential hazards.

 After all, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the transportation and material moving industry accounts for the highest number of annual workplace fatalities.

Creating a Journey Management Plan

A journey management plan is a set of official instructions, guidelines, and protocols for employees to follow while completing organization-sanctioned trips.

These elements should always be included in journey management plans:

  • Defined hazards and risk levels
  • Defined routes, timing, resting places, alternative plans
  • Communication plans and means of communication (i.e. use of satellite communication in rural areas)
  • Emergency response plans (i.e. how an employee will request assistance and who will respond)

Every plan should vary, based on the specific risks and hazards that have been identified for the journey. Therefore, the first – and most important – step in creating a journey management plan is carrying out a well-documented risk assessment to identify (as best as possible) all of the potential hazards, and their risk levels.

The next step is to develop processes and protocols to mitigate those hazards: also known as the journey management plan.

Journey Safety Hazards to Manage

In general, some common hazards your journey management plans should seek to mitigate include:

  • Driver fatigue
  • Heavy traffic
  • Vehicle disrepair, damage, or malfunction
  • Inclement weather
  • Car accidents
  • Wildlife accidents
  • Poor or dangerous road conditions
  • Night driving
  • Unexpected delays
  • No/low cell service areas

Managing Lone Workers’ Journeys

Working alone and driving are both very high-risk work activities. Whether your employees are healthcare professionals driving short distances to provide care in patients’ homes, or oil and gas workers traveling long distances to rural job sites, it is your responsibility to ensure they are safe during the journey, and after they arrive (if they are still officially on the clock).

Is a Journey Management App Necessary?

The best way to manage, monitor, and report on employees’ journey statutes, work activities, and safety is through digital tools like journey management apps and lone worker safety apps. These tools can make employees safer, while simplifying operations.

Deploying an app can also help satisfy your organization’s legal obligations to employee safety, by mitigating more safety risks than would be possible otherwise.

Let’s look at some of the potential safeguards that journey management apps, such as panic button apps and comprehensive digital lone worker safety solutions, can provide.

Location Sharing

When employees set out on long journeys, managers should be able to monitor their locations. Of course, location sharing offers insights into employees’ estimated times of arrival and work efficiency. But also, in emergencies, assistance can be dispatched to employees’ exact locations.

For employees who regularly travel in rural areas with low or no cell service, satellite devices should be deployed. Via lone worker devices (satellite devices) – such as the SPOT Satellite GPS Messenger or Garmin inReach – employees can share their locations, view navigation directions, message their managers, and activate duress to receive assistance.

When considering different apps, employee-enabled location sharing is key; this means that employees can enable location sharing while working, and turn it off afterwards. This feature ensures that no personal privacy boundaries are crossed, helping employees feel more comfortable with location tracking.

Automated, Periodic Check-Ins

Requiring employees to check-in regularly to confirm their wellbeing gives everyone involved peace of mind.

Lone worker safety apps, such as SHEQSY, feature automated and periodic check-ins. At pre-specified intervals, employees are automatically prompted to confirm that they are safe and well – they can also update their activity timers to let mangers know if they need more time. If employees fail to check-in, overtime alerts and duress alerts can be triggered, according to your organization’s lone worker safety policy.

Duress Notifications

In the event of an emergency – such as a traffic accident or vehicle breakdown – employees need a quick, easy way to request emergency assistance. The best journey management apps and lone worker safety apps offer multiple ways to trigger a panic notification, alerting their safety contact(s) that something has gone wrong.

For example, using SHEQSY’s lone worker alarm, employees can activate duress within the app; via the QuickPanic widget (quickly accessible from the smartphone lock screen); or by using Shake for Panic (shaking the smartphone). SHEQSY’s integrated lone worker devices offer even more duress-activation functionality. When duress is activated, a customizable escalation tree of emergency contacts receives duress notifications to acknowledge (via automated phone call, text, and email). For hands-off emergency monitoring, SHEQSY also offers 24/7 security monitoring to manage duress notifications according your organization’s safety policies and escalation protocols. 

Plus, digital solutions keep historical records of all lone worker activity data – such as duress events, hazard reports, and completed audit forms. This information is vital for conducting future lone worker risk assessments – and often, storing incident data is required by law.

Roll Call & Emergency Notifications

From tornadoes and blizzards to wildfires and flash flooding, all sorts of emergencies can arise while your drivers are on the road. Having the ability to swiftly send out emergency notifications and roll calls – requiring employees to formally acknowledge your safety advice and confirm their wellbeing – is invaluable in an emergency.

 Two SHEQSY features we find most useful are the Push Notifications, to remind users to turn on a Shift in the morning, and also Roll Call, which allows us to send notifications to users. We recently used Roll Call to reach out to our providers and check in with them during a weather event that caused extensive flooding. – Verity A., Head of Quality and Compliance

More Safety Tips for Journey Management

Beyond deploying a digital tool, there are other precautionary measures to take for long journeys. Preparing and planning ahead is key!

Vehicle Preparation & Safety Checks

Ensuring that all vehicles in an organization’s fleet have frequent and regular servicing will help keep them in safe shape for the journeys ahead.

But before each journey, it’s also a wise idea to require employees to complete vehicle safety audits to ensure that everything is working smoothly; that all tires have proper tread; that the gas tank is full; that no warning or maintenance lights are on; etc.

Using an inspection app such as SafetyCulture, or the checklist feature within the SHEQSY lone worker app, are great ways for organizations to conduct inspections, flag issues, and resolve issues.

Emergency Safety Kit

Your organization should require every work vehicle to carry an emergency safety kit. If a breakdown or other incident occurs, employees should be equipped with the essentials to sustain themselves until help arrives.

Must-have emergency safety kit items include (but are not limited to):

  • First aid kit
  • Seat belt cutter 
  • Non-perishable food
  • Potable water
  • Extra warm clothing
  • Warm blankets
  • Roadside flares
  • Flashlights
  • Jumper cables 
  • Rope
  • Road salt (for traction)
  • Snow shovel
  • Snow brush and ice scraper
  • External/portable cell phone charger
  • Extra gasoline

Safe Driving Training

Part of great journey management planning is ensuring that all drivers are properly trained and equipped to face the many hazards that can arise on the road. Educate your drivers on everything from defensive driving and winter driving safety, to understanding the signs of fatigue (time to take a much-needed break!), to ensure they know how to arrive alive.

SafetyCulture Training is a great resource for training and up-skilling your team members in a simplified, modern way.

Planning Ahead

Monitoring weather forecasts and traffic trends, and making route plans ahead of time (with alternatives, in case obstacles arise) help drivers feel confident and prepared for the road ahead.

Via the SHEQSY app (and integrations with Google Maps and your organization’s favorite calendar/scheduling tool), employees can view their scheduled jobs, shifts, or activities, and receive directions to their destinations. SHEQSY – an all-in-one journey management tool – makes lone worker safety, management, and compliance easy.

Watch this 90-second video to see how SHEQSY simplifies journey management:

Maddy Cornelius
Article by
Maddy Cornelius
Maddy is a content contributor for SafetyCulture. She has worked as a digital marketer and copywriter in the risk management industry for more than a decade. When she’s not writing for SafetyCulture, Maddy runs a popular travel and food blog and enjoys snowboarding, practicing yoga, hiking, and spending time exploring outdoors.