Managing Occupational Road Risk (MORR) as a Mainstream Health and Safety Issue
Roger Bibbings, Occupational Safety Adviser, Royal Society for the Prevention
Research commissioned by the UK Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and others suggests that between 25% and 33% of fatal and serious road traffic incidents involve someone who was at work at the time. These figures include all categories of road users - drivers, motorcyclists and cyclists as well as pedestrians and those working at the side of the road, suggesting that annually between 10,000 to 13,000 people are killed or injured in at-work road incidents in Great Britain.
A mainstream H&S issue
Since 1996 RoSPA has continued to work to ensure that occupational road risk is addressed by employers and regulators as a mainstream health and safety at work issue. It has been following up the report and recommendations of the Government's independent Work Related Road Safety Task Group (Dykes Report) and has been continuing to organise events and to secure publicity to help raise awareness of the moral, social, legal, and business cases for action. It has also be emphasising the contribution which MORR can make to helping to achieve the target for road casualty reduction by 2010 set by the Government and to its impact in reducing the cost of road casualties to the National Health Service as well as the pain and suffering caused to victims and their relatives. RoSPA has welcomed the recently published joint HSE/DfT guidance, 'Driving at Work' (www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/indg382.pdf) stressing that MORR makes real economic sense for companies as road crashes cost time and money in terms of absent staff, lost production and damage to commercial reputation.
A risk management approach
RoSPA believes that all employers, large or small, private or public, should seek to develop a systematic approach to managing occupational road risk that is appropriate to their business, for example by:
- gathering and analysing key safety and risk data on their vehicles, journeys, drivers, crashes, causes and costs;
- setting and communicating clear corporate road safety objectives;
- ensuring everyone understands their role in achieving them;
- introducing targeted safety measures based on suitable risk assessment (backed by standards, targets and timescales);
- monitoring performance and learning from accidents and incidents;
- carrying out periodic performance reviews in order to feed back lessons learned.
They should commit themselves to achieving a cycle of continuous improvement in road safety performance, ensuring that this approach is underpinned by a proactive, positive road safety culture lead by all senior managers with full workforce consultation and participation.
A new alliance
Together with other key players', RoSPA has established the Occupational Road Safety Alliance (ORSA) which now includes some 66 members. The organisation made input to drafts of the HSE/DfT guidance which it is now working to publicise. RoSPA, which provides the secretariat for ORSA and hosts its website www.orsa.org.uk has recently been successful in securing £16,000 from the DfT 'Challenge Fund' to help develop the site.
RoSPA has just published a complete revision of the RoSPA MORR guide first published in 1998 and is engaged in a major publicity drive to promote this. RoSPA www.rospa.com continues to organise special MORR events and staff continue to make presentations to outside bodies. Work continues on a comparative review of international experience and a framework for evaluating efficacy of interventions such driver training. More recently a scientific meeting has been held bringing together researchers and experts in MORR to see if there is scope for establishing an MORR Research Forum.
Action by HSC/E
RoSPA will be continuing to press the Health and Safety Commission to:
- accept that MORR is mainstream health and safety and should be made a clear priority in the context of developing their strategy up to 2010;
- increase staff resources devoted to MORR;
- facilitate greater benchmarking and sharing of information on MORR, for example via the HSE's MORR web pages;
- focus on on-road as well as site transport safety (for example, during inspectors visits to workplaces);
- in this context, issue enforcement notices where necessary;
- deal with complaints by workers on MORR issues;
- in partnership with the Police, investigate work-related road crashes and, where appropriate, take high profile prosecutions;
- lead the MORR research agenda; and
- take a lead within Government as an exemplar employer in relation to MORR issues.
Views and partnerships
RoSPA is anxious receive views on MORR issues and, wherever possible, to establish partnerships with others who can assist with specific projects. Enquiries should be addressed to John Howard, Director Safety Policy Division, RoSPA House, Edgbaston Park, 353, Bristol Road, Birmingham B5 7ST, UK | Tel: +44 (0) 121 248 2000 | Fax: +44 (0)121 248 2001 | Email: firstname.lastname@example.org