A campaign which was the first to reveal occupational road risk as the ‘hidden killer’ on Britain’s roads has reached its 15th anniversary.
RoSPA’s Managing Occupational Road Risk (MORR) campaign was launched with the publication of a discussion paper in 1996.
In the absence of official statistics, the paper estimated that up to 25% of road deaths each year involved vehicles being driven in the course of work activities. This amounted to more than 875 deaths. Subsequent research has estimated that up to a third of road accidents involve someone who is at work.
Roger Bibbings, RoSPA’s occupational safety adviser and author of the 1996 discussion paper, said: “RoSPA was the first organisation to try to quantify the devastating impact of at-work road accidents and our early casualty estimates have since been confirmed, and even increased, through subsequent research.
“The continuing level of suffering, and the fact we have an increasingly road-mobile workforce, means that – 15 years on – we cannot declare work-related road safety as something that has been ‘achieved’.
“When budgets are tight, it is understandable if safety is not at the forefront of everyone’s mind. However, if options for defending the bottom line through increasing sales and turnover are limited, cutting the avoidable losses associated with accidents becomes all the more important.”
In 1998 RoSPA launched new MORR guidance, which, in 2001, became part of the Work Related Road Safety Task Group, established by the Government and Health and Safety Commission.
Key campaign developments and successes have included the establishment of the Occupational Road Safety Alliance, in 2002, and the first national guidance on the issue – Driving at Work – which was published by the DfT and Health and Safety Executive in 2003.
RoSPA continues to run regular MORR events and produces guidance for employers, including a range of free Driving for Work resources, and has also established the annual MORR Awards. Most recently the charity has conducted research about young employees who drive for work.