This discussion document is issued by the independent Work-related Road Safety Task Group to encourage debate about how best to prevent at-work road traffic incidents.
Each year about 3,500 people are killed on our roads and 40,000 are seriously injured. In total there are nearly a 1/4 million accidents and 300,000 road casualties every year. This results in terrible human suffering and is a serious economic burden. The direct costs of injury accidents alone are about £3 billion a year. The Government is determined to reduce these figures and in March 2000 it published its Road Safety Strategy Tomorrow's Roads: safer for everyone. The strategy sets out what the Government plans to achieve by 2010, namely:
One part of the strategy is to see whether more can be done to reduce road traffic incidents that are connected to work. Many vehicles are driven for work purposes, for example lorries, vans, taxis, coaches, buses, emergency service and utilities vehicles, company cars, construction and agricultural machinery, motorcycles, mopeds and bicycles. And many people work on or by the road, for example maintenance workers, refuse collectors, postal workers, vehicle breakdown employees, the police and so on. All these workers are exposed to risks from traffic.
In order to find out more about the issues and how we can move forward, the Health and Safety Commission (HSC) agreed with Ministers that an independent Task Group be set up to make recommendations on preventing at-work road traffic incidents. Our terms of reference and membership are at annex 1.
In this document we set out what we know about such incidents and what we are doing to find out more. We seek views on our central proposition that employers should manage at-work road risk within the framework they should already have in place for managing all other occupational health and safety risks. There is a strong argument for action, morally, financially and to benefit society. Safer driving for work purposes should result in fewer fatalities and injury, lower costs to employers and wider advantages to society as driving standards improve. There would also be environmental gains, as safer driving is less polluting. We set down options for developing and disseminating good practice principles and raise a number of questions about how the enforcing authorities, and others, might work more closely together with the common aim of reducing at-work road traffic incidents.