Freelance Journalist

June 20, 2019

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Occupational Road Risk

Is it drivers or managers that create the biggest road risk in an organisation? Why MORR behavioural change is needed

Management of Occupational Road Risk (MORR) has been helping organisations manage their financial and moral duty of care since its creation by RoSPA (The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents).

The new RoSPA road map of MORR now goes to the next level in order to enable organisations of all sizes to access the benefits of MORR, and to ensure compliance set at Board level is carried out at shop floor level; identifies areas of weakness; and offers realistic workable solutions – including a flexible driver intervention matrix to support ‘at risk’ personnel on the road.

This session, delivered by John Greenhough, Fleet Safety Consultant at RoSPA, highlighted interesting – and concerning – statistics such as:

  • 95% of traffic accidents are caused by human error;
  • It’s usually 5% of the drivers within your business that account for 30% of your violations.

On the positive side however, John also presented more encouraging graphs that clearly demonstrated there’s been increased investment aimed at reducing accidents and deaths, and moreover, that this has resulted in a gradual reduction in workplace fatalities, since the introduction of the Health and Safety at Work Act (1974).

The thought-provoking content included the question: “Is it the drivers, or their managers, that create the biggest road risk in an organisation?”, with the discussion covering the following points:

  • The drivers themselves may create a road risk, or have an accident – but this will be at the present time, or in the near future, or of course – further into the future;
  • However, managers are responsible for the policies now, and probably have been for some time, and will be so in the future;
  • Management issues can influence the number of vehicle accidents, via ensuring the regular monitoring of procedures and policies such as: health checks; journey planning; risk assessments; financial incentives; equipment supplied; etc.

The conclusion to this question was that of course it is managers and directors who can create the greatest risk – if their procedures and policies are not up to date and they don’t conduct regular training, risk assessments and audits. However, the point was also made that whilst policies, procedures and training can influence behaviour, they can’t provide an absolute solution – the overriding change that must be made is an ongoing alteration and adaptation of behaviour that achieves buy-in from all parties.

A combination of interesting and powerful final key points provided plenty of food for thought:

  • Accidents cost businesses money, and remembering some of the above statistics – it’s therefore vital to change the behaviours of that small number of drivers (around 5%) in your business that account for a large proportion of your violations (around 30%) – bearing in mind it’s highly likely these will also be the most costly incidents;
  • Regarding duty of care and legislation, the law requires a business ‘to protect people as far as reasonably practical’ – so to comply with a statement such as this, which could be open to wide conjecture, it’s vital to have robust procedures and policies in place, and to ensure buy-in throughout the business;
  • Regarding the eternal debate about the use of hands-free phones in vehicles, it’s fascinating to think about how the law deals with this – which includes the statistic that a person’s reaction time when driving, using a hands-free device, is actually worse than the reaction time when they’re at the legally acceptable drink/drive limit.

RoSPA, official Safety and Health Expo partner, delivered a series of topical presentations, discussions and talks across the three days of the Show.

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