A national standard for the management of work-related road risk would be welcomed by businesses and should include ‘back to basics’ advice, according to new research by TRL.
The research, jointly funded by the Metropolitan Police Service and the Association of Chief Police Officers, examined the opinions of various stakeholders from the work-related road safety field including trade associations, charities, road safety groups and fleet managers.
The research was designed to address two key questions; what might a national standard for the management of work-related road risk look like, and what role might the police play in its development and use?
Dr Shaun Helman, who led the research, said: “For some time, we have known that work-related road collisions represent a serious injury burden, with at least around a fifth and perhaps as many as a third of injury road collisions in Great Britain involving someone who is driving for work at the time.
“There is no standard approach to managing this risk and businesses are inundated with a multitude of advice from different suppliers and stakeholders, making it difficult for anyone to be sure what they should be doing.”
One of the key findings of the research was that the management of work-related road risk is widely perceived to be lagging behind the management of health and safety risk in the workplace.
Dr Helman added: “The general perception is that despite a great deal of effort by some stakeholders and businesses over the last decade, in the majority of organisations work-related road risk is simply not being managed in the way it should be.”
The research also highlighted the need for any national standard to be simple, and evidence-based.
‘Baseline’ features suggested by stakeholders for what the standard should require include a simple-to-follow risk management system based on the ‘plan, do, check, act’ model, licence checks for drivers, and the collection of data (for example incidents and near misses) to monitor performance.
In addition, the report suggests that a national standard should encourage businesses to focus on reducing the extent to which employees are asked to drive when tired, when distracted, or under time pressure.
Dr Helman said: “The wider evidence suggests that fatigue, time pressure and distraction are the key risk factors for work-related driving, so it makes sense to focus on managing these risks first.”
The report also recommends that the police play a role with other organisations (including Driving for Better Business) in developing a national standard, and that this could be achieved either through encouraging adoption of a forthcoming international standard (and producing additional standard guidance), or through developing a standalone solution.
Finally, the research suggests that the police might find ways to ensure that businesses find out about traffic offences committed by employees, as such data can be used to help understand levels of risk.
Chief Superintendent David Snelling, representing both the Metropolitan Police and ACPO, said: “The police welcome the findings of this report and will seek to work with others to develop a national standard for those driving at work.
“This will enable individuals and companies to do all that they can to prevent road traffic collisions occurring by understanding what their responsibilities are. For those who deliberately flout safety provisions, a national standard will enable the authorities to take appropriate enforcement action.”
The report, A gap analysis of work-related road safety in the UK: Working towards a national standard, is available to download FOC from the TRL website.