The awareness of, and the benefits of reducing work-related road risk have been increasingly recognised by organisations in recent years, reports Cathal Doyle from Brussels. However, while it is relatively straight-forward to manage road risk within an organisation, there’s also an increasing awareness that where companies employ or use external sources, then those contractors in the supply chain must fulfil the organisation’s obligations on traffic safety as well as other sustainability criteria such as reduced environmental footprint.
‘Reducing Road Risk at Work through Procurement – Integrating Safety Requirements in the Transport Sector Supply Chain’ was one of two new reports published by the European Transport Safety Council’s (ETSC) 5th Annual European PRAISE Conference held in Brussels on 20 October. The second report – ‘Managing Young Drivers At Work’ looks at the issues associated with the sector that has the highest collision involvement of any road user group, that of drivers between 18 and 24 years of age, and how to mitigate the specific risks associated with the group.
ETSC’s PRAISE (Preventing Road Accidents & Injuries for the Safety of Employees) project was set up in 2009 to address the safety aspects of driving at work and driving to work. With representatives from twenty-five countries present, the Conference heard from leading occupational health and safety experts including Deirdre Sinnott McFeat from the Health & Safety Authority Ireland who spoke on ‘Managing the road risk of young driver employees’.
EU public authorities spend the equivalent of 16% of EU GDP on procurement, with cost savings, improved services, greater flexibility, and a focus on core business, the main reasons why companies outsource business to contractors. That can result in a poor focus on road safety, as SME’s may have fewer resources to dedicate to Occupational Safety & Health (OSH). The report has a series of recommendations for Procurement Managers as well as the EU and Member States, including developing structures to conduct joint risk assessments between client and contractor, and setting up certification schemes for contractors on work related road safety.
Recognising that young drivers are more susceptible to all major driving risk factors including speeding, drink driving, drug use, distraction and seat belt use, Deirdre Sinnott McFeat said that employers have moral, financial and regulatory duty to protect working drivers – and those they share the road with. Recommendations to employers include training and qualification programmes, having realistic journey planning and scheduling, adopting working hours for commuting if necessary, and incentivising the using of public transport. Also recommended is the use of in-vehicle technologies to support safer driving standards.
A number of awards were also presented to companies demonstrating best practice in work related road safety at the PRAISE Conference.
Both reports can be downloaded in full at www.etsc.eu/praise.