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Why Road Safety is a Must in Your Workplace

2 minute read

In our previous blog, ‘Duty of Care: No Road Safety Where It’s Needed’, we spoke about the responsibilities employers, companies and organisations have, to ensure that their workers are safe and educated when it comes to workplace road safety.

The need for improved WHS road safety education may seem relevant only to those who drive primarily during their work hours. However, it’s applicable to those who drive between worksites, go for coffee and lunch runs, and even those who drive to and from work.

In 2016 it was recorded that approximately 69% of individuals commuted to work. The psychological toll of a lengthy commute alone is enough to stress workers out before they even clock on. Add to that a potential crash scare, road rage and traffic and you’ve got a large majority of employees coming to work already mentally fatigued.

At the forefront, it might not seem like an employer problem, but when mental clarity and stress levels affect work productivity and enjoyment, it certainly becomes one.

One way to reduce the stress of driving for employees – whether simply for commuting purposes or because it’s part of the job – is to embed road safety into one’s OH&S or WHS plan.

Doing so can:

  • Reduce the risk of death and serious injury on the roads
  • Ensure WHS legislative requirements are met
  • Potentially reduce the costs of insurance premiums and vehicle maintenance
  • Prevent the accumulation of legal costs and cost of penalties in the case of a crash
  • Minimise loss of wages to worker injuries and compensation
  • Motivate workers and improve mental health culture in the workplace
  • Promote Corporate Social Responsibility
  • Give you a competitive edge when hiring and
  • Improve staff retention

It’s clear that the benefits outweigh the costs of integrating road safety into your current plans…. But what exactly can be done to promote positive road safety culture in the workplace?

Choosing safer vehicles, having standard checklists and procedures as well as educating employees is a great start.

When it comes to purchasing vehicles, specifically fleet vehicles, choosing one that’s 5-star ANCAP or has safety features can help prevent crashes in the event of human error. This includes features such as Electronic Stability Control (ESC), Brake Assist Systems (BAS) or Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB), a reverse camera or warning system or even Lane Support Systems (LSS).

Research has found that ESC features – technology that helps avoid swerving, skidding, or under/oversteering – have been able to reduce single-vehicle crashes by 32% and rollovers by 82%. Similarly, the introduction of AEB in vehicles has been able to reduce rear-end injury crashes by more than 50%.

Organising routine maintenance and safety checks of vehicles in your company’s fleet is also a must, along with a system where workers can report vehicle issues and receive support in a timely manner.

While these procedures and safety measures will help reduce the likelihood of crashes on the road, or at least their severity, the most crucial part of road safety in the workplace is education. With human error being a contributing factor in over 90% of crashes, educating employees about what it means to be a safer driver, major crash risk factors and how to respond in emergency events can help reduce potential mishaps on the road. Education can come in the form of external training and can occur during the onboarding process or yearly as a refresher for those who continually drive for their jobs.

At the end of the day, no matter how you choose to integrate a road safety plan into your workplace, prioritising safety and implementing road safe practices is one of the keys to good business. Doing so will not only reduce road deaths, but improve workplace relationships, worker productivity, WHS culture and make work a more enjoyable space to be in general.

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