Wednesday 28 September 2016

Why it makes sense to ensure your workers are better drivers

* Our Road Safety Authority expert outlines what firms can do to make driving for work a safer job

Published 05/08/2015 | 02:30

Studies show that people who drive company cars have 30pc to 40pc more collisions than other drivers and this risk increases the more kilometres are driven
Studies show that people who drive company cars have 30pc to 40pc more collisions than other drivers and this risk increases the more kilometres are driven

The European Transport Safety Council hosted a road safety conference for employers recently in Dublin. It was attended by employer organisations, large and small from around the country. The aim was to get business to realise they play a critical role in keeping the roads safe. Not just in Ireland but across the EU.

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Antonio Avenoso, Executive Director of the ETSC said that road crashes are the biggest cause of death in the course of work. One-in-three collisions is work related. So clearly businesses have a role to play. But while they need to do more, the authorities here: the Road Safety Authority, the HSA and gardai need to assist businesses in tackling the issue.

This is something the three agencies have been heavily involved in over recent years. A driving-for-work programme has been developed for employers. You can download it from the HSA and RSA websites. The agencies have also hosted a series of annual driving-for-work seminars around the country. At these case studies have been presented by 'best practice' companies to show there are sound economic reasons why employers should take the issue seriously.

Companies do really see the benefits; they include reduced insurance premiums, lower fuel costs, less absenteeism, greater staff satisfaction and most importantly, safe employees. Those benefits can be achieved by making sure staff who drive as part of their work are equipped with the skills and training to make them safer drivers. It also means having clear policies on work practices. For example, a policy on mobile phones and driving. Employers should be setting the example and not phoning their employees while they are driving.

Studies show that people who drive company cars have 30pc to 40pc more collisions than other drivers and this risk increases the more kilometres are driven.

While having driving for work policies makes clear business sense, employers also have legal responsibilities to provide staff with a safe working environment, both in the office and on the road.

There are clear signs this year that the economy is beginning to pick up, and this is particularly obvious in the increased number of vehicles on our roads. SIMI have reported a 50pc increase in sales of Light Commercial Vehicles (vans) this year compared to last.

More vehicles mean a greater risk of collisions. So employers must protect their staff who drive for work. If you employ two or 500 people and some of your staff drive as part of their job, you have a responsibility to them.

Making road safety a core part of your business not only reduces the risk of death and injury to your staff, it also protects you and your reputation, makes good business sense and ultimately benefits the bottom line.

The ETSC presents annual awards in recognition of businesses that have made an outstanding commitment to improving work-related road safety. The competition is divided into three separate categories according to the size and type of the applicant organisations: SME (Small-Medium Enterprise), large company and public authority. The winners are chosen by an independent panel of experts appointed by ETSC. Past winners of this prestigious European award have included the ESB and Co Kildare based company KTL.

So if you are a company that is proactive in making driving for work a core part of your business plan and want it recognised, visit the ETSC website, etsc.eu and check out their PRAISE Awards. Winners are invited to a high-profile event in Brussels, which includes networking opportunities with policymakers and other organisations active in the field. Winning could also provide a great selling point for new business opportunities.

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