By Shell on Jun. 23, 2021
A recent Safe Work Australia study found that 64 per cent of all work-related traumatic-injury fatalities between 2003 and 2019 involved a motor vehicle, with 50 per cent of these incidents occurring on a public road.
It estimated the socio-economic cost of road trauma at $27 billion per year, with businesses bearing a significant proportion of that cost.
If your business involves workers using vehicles in the course of their duties, a road-safety guide can help you protect them.
What's a road-safety guide?
The Work Health and Safety (WHS) Act 2011 places a duty on businesses to ensure a workplace is without risks to the health and safety of any person. This also applies when a worker is on and around the road.
A road-safety guide is essentially a list of work-related driving-safety policies and procedures embedded within a company's existing WHS framework.
Why do I need one?
Managing road safety can deliver some significant benefits, regardless of a company's size or focus. Aside from helping it meet its WHS legislative requirements and reduce the risk of death or serious injury to workers and others, it can minimise lost working days due to worker injury and lead to reduced legal, insurance and other costs.
A road-safety guide is also a way for a company to show it values worker safety and to promote its workplace as socially responsible.
How do I implement one?
No two companies are the same, so owners, fleet managers and OHS managers must develop a road-safety guide relevant to their particular business.
National and state WorkSafe authorities offer various online resources to help a business assess and minimise its exposure to road-safety risk, typically grouped around a three-pronged 'elimination', 'substitution' and 'administration' strategy.
- Elimination: is about completely removing the road-safety risk, thereby avoiding the need to implement measures or controls. An example of this is using video conferencing for meetings rather than having workers travelling to do it face-to-face.
- Substitution: involves replacing driving with a safer option when travel is a must (say, public transport) or using engineering to minimise the risk (say, purchasing only five-star ANCAP rated vehicles or those with the latest driver-assist technologies).
- Administration: is about minimising the risk using administrative or procedural means to help workers make safer decisions, such as publishing and implementing standards, policies, guides and training. This could be educating drivers about safe road behaviours, having a system to ensure they're fit and competent to drive, scheduling work to account for speed limits, managing fatigue, or ensuring workers are not expected to make or respond to calls when travelling.
It could also include providing additional training when necessary (say, if a worker who is used to a small car needs to drive a big 4WD).
Once you've written up a list of operating procedures with clear responsibilities and reporting measures, consider holding a launch event to ensure workers are up to speed with the new measures.
Don't stop there
A road-safety guide is a work in progress that needs monitoring and reviewing to improve. Tracking progress, communicating with executive staff and workers and reviewing crash/insurance data will give you the data needed to update your driving-safety policies and guidelines appropriately.