As an evidence-based accident prevention charity, RoSPA’s vision is more lives free from serious accidental injury through the exchange of life-enhancing knowledge and skills. Driving for work is for many of us the most hazardous thing we do, and it is clear that organisations should manage driving risk in the same way they would any other risk to their organisation.
As with all risks, driving for work needs to be managed holistically by adopting a plan, do, check, act approach. This cycle needs to start at what RoSPA believes is the very beginning: first, take time to pause and reflect – take a big picture approach to your organisation’s road transport activities to identify where your greatest risk exposure lies. Then ask where and how can the risks be reduced?
As we all know, the boundaries between work and life have blurred during the pandemic, and now more than ever there is a need to ‘read-across’ the topics of workplace transport and driving for work. The former has an established practical focus on safe journey, safe vehicle and safe driver, which organisations should already understand.
However, if we accept RoSPA’s premise that “people deserve to be protected” and quite simply accidents don’t need to happen, we must then also take a wider view of driver safety. And this is where we believe that managing work-related road safety is not just about protecting workers as drivers or passengers but also (and as much) about protecting the wider public who are also road users, particularly those who are vulnerable – after all it is a shared space. As safety practitioners this is the challenge – to look outside of the traditional boundaries of driver safety and to focus on the wider implications of driving, wherever the organisational or business impacts may occur.
The opportunity now exists for us to tell this story. As a community we thrive on information exchange. We understand well the words “consultation” and “engagement” and it is the processes associated with these words that require us to amplify the voice of those needlessly killed and seriously injured as a consequence of driving for work.
A RoSPA key issue for many years has been the importance of “learning from safety failure”; building on root cause analysis of accidents and incidents and proactively tracking relevant key performance indicators. Ask yourself, does your organisation have KPI’s relating to the wider impacts of driving for work?
The RoSPA vision is to support the development of case studies that assist organisations to engage in continuous improvement around driving for work, placing more emphasis on the importance of learning from and periodically reviewing operational experience.
Take the OUCH out of driving for work by owning the issue, understanding your data, and controlling the risk by managing holistically, while recognising that it is often the voice of those who have lost their lives that galvanises action. Don’t let it be a familiar voice: these accidents don’t need to happen.