Up to one third of all road collisions involve drivers who are using their vehicle for work. This means that around 75 people die in work related road crashes in Ireland each year.
The figure was revealed at the start of a road safety campaign, from the Road Safety Authority (RSA ) and the Health and Safety Authority (HSA ), which is designed to make employers aware of their responsibility to ensure the safety of their staff on the roads.
The campaign, which is being backed by a national radio advert, is asking employers to use the RSA’s and HSA’s ‘Driving for Work Guidelines’ to assist in implementing safe driving policies in the workplace.
The guidelines, published in CD ROM format, are available free of charge and can be downloaded from www.rsa.ie and www.hsa.ie According to Noel Brett, CEO, Road Safety Authority, the driving for work guidelines will assist employers manage their staff’s road safety. It provides an overview of legislation, how to carry out risk assessments and highlights the significant benefits for businesses and the wider community when work related road safety is managed effectively.
“Managing staff safety, while driving for work, makes good business sense, especially in the current economic climate as it protects staff and business profits,” Mr Brett said. “For example, for every €1 claimed on insurance arising from work related road incidents, companies may have to pay a further €8 to €36 for uninsured losses.”
Martin O’Halloran, CEO, Health and Safety Authority, said, “All employers are required by health and safety laws to put proper measures in place to protect the safety of all their employees. Particularly concerning is that 42 per cent of Irish businesses have no driving for work policy as part of their health and safety management system. A 2008 Health and Safety Authority survey of businesses also found that there was a lack of awareness of their duties to manage work related driving activities.
“As an employer, you should give your employees proper information and training to protect their safety, health and welfare,” he added. “This duty extends to employees who drive for work. Not only will a proactive approach help to protect your workforce, it may also save your business significant amounts of money.”
Vehicles are the biggest cause of work related deaths and a significant contributor to work related injuries. Studies show that people who drive company cars have between 30 per cent and 40 per cent more collisions than ordinary drivers and this risk increases for those who drive more than 40,000km a year.
Under the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act 2005 an employer has a duty to protect the health and safety of staff who drive for work.
Driving for work includes any person who drives on a road as part of their work (not including commuting ) either in a company vehicle or their own vehicle, receiving an allowance from their employer for miles driven.