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Work related road risk should ‘become a priority’

  Friday, 1 August 2014

Employers and the government should be doing more to ensure that work-related road safety prioritised alongside traditional health and safety, a new report has argued.

The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) spoke to both the Transport Research Laboratory (TRL) and the Centre for Transport Studies at University College London (UCL) to evaluate the current management of occupational road risk in the UK.

The report assesses the progress made in recent years by employers looking to manage the risks that their staff face whilst driving for work. It makes various recommendations, in particular that data related to driving improve through better recording by both the Health and Safety Executive and the police. It also calls for more effective evaluation of current road safety approaches.

The government has no current plans to make the reporting of work-related driving accidents part of RIDDOR (Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations).

Transport minister Robert Goodwill spoke to Fleet News, saying:

“We’re not looking at incorporating road traffic accidents into RIDDOR. We already get police statistics fed into the DFT and I think we could be in danger of double-counting if we were also including that type of accident as accidents at work as well as road traffic accidents.

“I’ve not heard any compelling arguments as to why this would give us any better information of what’s happening.”

The report also highlighted the importance of analysing in-car data recorders and monitoring technology. Dr Shaun Helman, TRL head of Transport Psychology, said:

“Work-related driving remains an important area for action if we are to sustain progress in reducing road injuries.

“Although some businesses are switched on to the issue, most of the time injuries sustained on the road are not afforded the same priority as injuries sustained on work premises and sites. This needs to change.”

Between 2006 and today, more than 4,726 people died in accidents involving at-work drivers. More than 40,000 were seriously injured in the same period, making it one of the most serious road safety issues in the UK.  What’s more, the figures do not include those of commuters.

Kevin Clinton, the head of road safety at RoSPA, said:

“Injuries and deaths sustained from work-related driving remain a priority action point for both road and occupational safety.

“Up to one-third of road accidents involve someone who is using the road for work purposes.”

“This review further emphasises the need for the awareness of MORR (managing occupational road risk) to be raised and given the priority it deserves.”

The European Transport Safety Council recently released a report along the same lines.* The Business Case for Managing Road Risk at Work* aims to show how pro-active methods can help improve road safety management.

The BCFMRRAW says:

“Injuries and deaths sustained from work-related driving remain a priority action point for both road and occupational safety.

“Up to one-third of road accidents involve someone who is using the road for work purposes.”

“This review further emphasises the need for the awareness of MORR (managing occupational road risk) to be raised and given the priority it deserves.”

The report argues that there are various convincing arguments for preparing and implementing a work-related road risk management (WRRRM) programme. For instance, better journey planning matched with defensive driving techniques could increase road safety whilst cutting back asset and fuel use.

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