Driving For Work

Driving For Work

How Effective?

Benefits of Good Management

The benefits of managing work-related road safety can be considerable, no matter what the size of the enterprise.

The Motorists’ Forum initiated its study in response to a request from the Secretary of State for Transport because it appeared that this is an area of road safety which is often overlooked both in workplace health and safety processes and public road safety initiatives. Indeed surveys suggest that some 79% of companies have not even recognised this as a risk area. Yet it is an area where some organisations have achieved remarkable reductions in accidents through relatively simple measures. It also called for a systematic programme of outreach designed to coordinate a network of employer champions drawn from public, private and voluntary sectors who will work through employer networks and associations to deliver awareness. (Driving for Better Business)

Driving for Better Business champion companies show that benefits of managing a driving for work policy include:

  • Reduced accident losses

  • More effective vehicle use

  • Less down-time

  • Improved safety culture

  • Improved public image

  • Higher staff morale

  • Lower insurance premiums

  • Lower transport costs

  • Defence against criminal prosecutions and civil litigation

  • Improved business performance

PRAISE1  also identified the following benefits:

  • Reduced risk of work-related ill health and stress

  • Less need for investigation and paper work

  • Fewer missed orders and business opportunities

  • Less change of employees being banned from driving

  • Reduce staff turnover

A survey study found that 64% of businesses had a driving policy of some kind and one third of those found that it had benefited safety (the other companies reported no effect and several reported negative effects) (Lancaster & Ward, 2002).

Guidance from HSE and Driving for Better Business show that managing a Driving for Work policy can only be effectively handled if it is integrated into arrangements for managing health and safety at work. Businesses should look at their health and safety systems and consider whether they adequately cover this area of work. The main areas which need to be addressed are policy, responsibility, organisation, systems and monitoring.

It is notable that in companies and industries where safety has become a key business priority, the management of those who drive for work is often at an advanced level and a balance has been struck between performance and safety. In such cases mechanisms for organisational learning, such as confidential incident reporting systems, have begun to be taken up in a variety of industries. (Safety Culture and Work-Related Road Accidents DfT Road Safety Research Report No. 51)

There is no national standard for the management of road safety at work, however, there is much guidance available from government agencies and private organisations. Much of this guidance offers practical measures to reduce risks, as well as guidance on risk management processes modelled on the health and safety approach.

A possible key role for the Police in supporting work-related road safety in the future will be in enabling information about driving offences committed while driving for work being made available to employers. In addition, the Police have the credibility and respect to engage in wide dissemination relating to the introduction of any national or international standards, and to work-related road safety in general.

ISO 39001:2012 is an international standard which specifies requirements for a road traffic safety (RTS) management system to enable an organisation that interacts with the road traffic system to reduce death and serious injuries related to road traffic crashes which it can influence.

The requirements in ISO 39001:2012 include: development and implementation of an appropriate RTS policy; development of RTS objectives and action plans, which take into account legal and other requirements to which the organization subscribes; and information about elements and criteria related to RTS that the organisation identifies as those which it can control and those which it can influence.

Improved driver training alone has little effect, however by altering organisational and work structures that shape these drivers’ attitudes and behaviour, incidents can be reduced. Peck (2011)

In 2011 IOSH commissioned TRL to conduct a review and stakeholder report into the efficacy of existing work-related road safety interventions. This research suggests that work-related road safety interventions should focus on issues such as making sure people don’t drive when tired, when under pressure to reach their destination quickly, or when using devices such as mobile phones

As work-related RTAs are a significant cause of preventable death and injury there is consensus that people should be protected from the hazards. IOSH believes that:

  • Employers should ensure they produce and effectively communicate a policy for the management of work-related road safety with their staff.

  • Road safety policies should cover suitable and properly maintained vehicles; driver suitability, fitness and training; and realistic timescales for journeys, to prevent stress or pressure to take risks.

  • Journeys should be properly planned to avoid undue fatigue and plans reassessed if weather conditions deteriorate.

  • Employers need to control the risks from ‘driver distraction ’and include this in their policy e.g. prohibit activities like phone-use and eating while driving.

  • Managers should consider alternatives to driving, for example train travel or video- and tele-conferencing.

  • In addition to RTAs, employees should also be encouraged to inform employers of any serious near-misses on the road, so that lessons can be shared.

Although IOSH found that many businesses see immediate and lasting effect from sound management interventions, there was a need for more robust and scientific evaluation studies in this field to determine the exact effect of any specific intervention.

General advice from organisations and businesses which promote good management of those who drive for work recommends four key areas need to be addressed by employers:

  • Vehicles

An employer of someone who drives a vehicle for work, including private vehicles owned by the employee, has a responsibility to ensure that the vehicle fits the purpose for which it is used. It is important that the vehicle is safe and in fit condition and that there is required safety equipment properly fitted and maintained. These basic requirements, along with others below, have been found by employers to help reduce the risk to employees who are driving as part of their job.

  • Journeys

Journey planning and scheduling is essential in ensuring the safety of employees who drive for work. Investing time in ensuring that journey planning is implemented as a component of DfW policy, will ensure that where possible, routes are planned thoroughly, schedules are realistic, and sufficient time is allocated to complete journeys safely.

  • Drivers

An employer needs to be satisfied that drivers are competent and capable of doing their work in a way that is safe for them. The need to be satisfied that that employees are properly trained?

  • Management

The Health and Safety Act 1974 requires employers to ensure, so far as reasonably practicable, the health and safety of all employees while at work. They also have a responsibility to ensure that others are not put at risk by driving for work activities. They need to carry out assessments of the risks to the health and safety of their employees, while they are at work, and to other people who may be affected by their work activities.

Managing a DfW policy can only be effectively handled if it is integrated into arrangements for managing health and safety at work. Businesses need to look at their health and safety systems and consider whether they adequately cover this area of work. The main areas to address are policy, responsibility, organisation, systems and monitoring. (Driving for Better Business).

The new publication of report ISO 39001 2012, will be invaluable in helping businesses both large and small, as well as public organisations to reduce crashes involving those who drive for work. ISO 39001:2012 specifies requirements for a road traffic safety (RTS) management system to enable an organization that interacts with the road traffic system to reduce death and serious injuries related to road traffic crashes which it can influence.

A wide range of advice is available from RoSPA, local road safety teams and many commercial organisations. It can also be accessed through the Driving for Better Business web site: www.drivingforbetterbusiness.com

  • Date Added: 03 Apr 2012, 08:08 AM
  • Last Update: 26 Jan 2017, 04:02 PM