Work-Related Road Risk (WRRR): The real-life, and sometimes unexpected, benefits of effectively managing business driving
SummaryIn the month of Brake’s 'Road Safety Week 2019', Dr Jim Golby, Director of Research and Customer Experience for Applied Driving Techniques (ADT) highlights the benefits of addressing the business-critical activity of driving for work. Most organisations have employees that are required to drive for work as either a primary or secondary function of their job. This necessary task exposes employees to what is considered the most high-risk activity typically undertaken by employees: driving at work.
- Author Company: Applied Driving Techniques (ADT)
- Author Name: Dr Jim Golby
- Author Email: email@example.com
- Author Website: http://www.applieddriving.co.uk
Most organisations have employees that are required to drive for work as either a primary or secondary function of their job. This necessary task exposes employees to what is considered the most high-risk activity typically undertaken by employees: driving at work.
Driving on company business, or work-related road risk (WRRR), is demonstrably both the most dangerous and typically the most frequent activity any employer ever asks an employee to undertake on behalf of its business. In the UK, between 800 and 1,000 people are killed annually in work-related collisions.
One third of deaths on the roads of the UK occur during ‘at work’ journeys and these figures apply similarly across the roads of Europe and beyond. The European Transport Safety Council (ETSC), similarly estimate that business drivers account for 30-40% of road deaths across the UK and Europe and the OHSA’s figures for the USA only reinforce this highly concerning statistic.
Whilst current global road-related driving statistics show that the UK is one of the safest places to drive in the world, this is no cause for complacency. Every fatality is unacceptable, avoidable and a cause for concern.
It is surprising, therefore, that anecdotal evidence demonstrates that many, normally safety-conscious organisations are inexplicably failing to address their WRRR obligations with the necessary enthusiasm and rigour. This apparent malaise on the part of otherwise diligent employers, leaves both the safety and wellbeing of their employees and their corporate brand exposed and at-risk.
Whilst “doing the right” thing would be expected as the default position for many employers, the lack of any proactive compliance audit of employers by the HSE means that, some 15 years on from the first HSE requirements on WRRR being defined , many organisations are still getting away with doing very little. They are, quite simply, playing with the lives of employees.
Every employer will hope their employees will get home safely every night, but this doesn’t happen without action. Neither does the creation of a fully legally compliant setting across the business. It requires the proactive management and implementation of WRRR-related processes and procedures.
Furthermore, many employers are also still guilty of ignoring the extremely large population of ‘grey fleet’ drivers. Grey fleet is the term given to employees who are driving on company business in their own vehicles. These could be semi or fully funded vehicles through Cash Allowance/Salary Sacrifice schemes, or those claiming back business mileage for the use of their personal vehicle for business.
Many employers remain oblivious of the fact that UK’s HSE and the ROI’s HSA ‘Driving at Work’ guidance does not discriminate between the safety of employees using company-sourced or employee-sourced vehicles therefore all of the same requirements apply equally to “grey fleet” drivers and their vehicles. This significant omission leaves many employers and their staff highly exposed.
In addition to affecting the safety of employees, vehicle-related incidents at work are extremely costly, time-consuming and adversely affect operational efficiency through absenteeism and insurance costs. WRRR should, therefore, be a serious focus for any organisation.
In short, whilst no employer would actively wish for their employee to experience an unsafe work-related journey, there still appears to be a distinct deficit of due attention paid to driver safety by a significant number of employers. Furthermore, many employers are operating without a clearly defined driver safety policy, much less a robust, systematic and legally compliant approach to their WRRR responsibilities. Many organisations tragically find themselves in the position of reviewing their fleet safety reactively, only after a high-cost collision or worse, a fatality.
What Does Current WRRR Legislation Require?
- The Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974states you must ensure, so far as reasonably practicable, the health and safety of all employees while at work. You must also ensure that others are not put at risk by your work-related driving activities.
- The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999(3)requires employers to manage health and safety effectively. Employers must carry out an assessment of the risks to the health and safety of its employees while they are at work and to other people who may be affected by the organisation’s work activities.
- HSE Regulationsencompass all employees driving on company business, irrespective of whether it is undertaken in a company, hired or driver owned vehicle, as well as anyone taking a cash allowance (i.e. grey fleet).
Jim asked fellow WRRR leads in the UK/ROI for their thoughts on the benefits for organisations and employees. Jim was joined by Jen Yaxley, WRRR Lead for Jacobs, Julie Davies, Group Fleet and Plant Compliance Manager for Amey, and Kevin Smith, Support Services Director for Tracsis.
JY, JD and KS have extensive, real-life experience of improving driver safety and addressing WRRR within different industry sectors. They provide a valuable insight into their organisational motivations and the benefits achieved by implementing a best practice approach to Driver Safety and WRRR Compliance across their organisations.
The trio protect driver populations that range from 100 to > 10,000 and have company cars, vans, hire vehicles and grey fleet under their care. Each expert shares a similar passion to ensure that their organisation is doing the very best to keep their employees as safe as possible when driving on business.
How would you describe your organisation’s involvement with WRRR?
Jen Yaxley (JY) said: “At Jacobs, we are totally committed to maximising the safety of our employees driving for work. This is a journey of serious commitment which we first embarked on back in 2007. We are amazed at the results we have achieved since our partnership with ADT in 2015. By proactively enhancing our WRRR activities, we have achieved over 50% reduction in our vehicle incident rates in the last 5 years. Every employer has both a legal duty and a moral obligation to manage the safety of their employees whilst they are driving for work. Driving is the most dangerous activity most of us will do on a daily basis and we must act to mitigate this risk, however we can."
Julie Davies (JD) commented: “Successfully addressing driver safety is a huge, huge focus for Amey. What has been really crucial is both the “buy-in” from senior management as well as the positive engagement we have experienced from our staff.”
Kevin Smith (KS) highlighted: "I joined the Tracsis safety team at an exciting time, when driver safety and WRRR was identified as an area of significant focus. Since then, we have successfully rolled out the ADT WRRR Driver Safety Service. The process risk assesses each individual driver. As a result, we can identify, target and treat the greatest risk in an affordable way and at a time of our choosing. We expect to see a safety dividend as a result of this approach, evidenced when assessing driver performance by way of analysing vehicle tracker metrics and, obviously, actual vehicle accident rates.”
What real-world benefits have you achieved by addressing WRRR?
From JD: “Fewer incidents and reduced incident-related costs, improved operational efficiency and less vehicle downtime. Plus, reduced insurance-related costs.”
From JY: “A 50% reduction in motor vehicle incidents. A shift from high-speed, high-consequence incidents to low-speed, low-consequence events. A 30% reduction in the miles driven per billable hour. While we have never tried to accurately measure the financial benefits of our updated system, it is worth considering that the UK Department of Transport calculated the average cost per incident in 2015 to be £76,466 (source HM Department of Transport and Office for National Statistics). Therefore, by reducing incidents we are also enjoying financial benefits, although this is not our incentive."
What unexpected benefits have you observed?
From KS: “When bidding for tenders, we are presented with an opportunity to set out the company’s positive safety record and any initiatives to promote/ensure safety. Our approach puts us in a strong position when completing tenders. Whilst acknowledging that some clients may place a higher scoring value on safety during the tender process than others, our commercial team reports that, overall, there is a continuous rise in client supply chain expectations with regards to safety and a reduction in environmental impact. Many clients now consider environmental/sustainability policies within the tender process for contracts. Many of the initiatives we have put in place have helped us to demonstrate that we take such issues seriously and this may provide an edge over competitors.”
From JD: “As part of our approach to driver safety and WRRR, we introduced a total ban on the use of mobile phones when driving (including hands-free). I find travelling is more relaxing now, as you can focus on dealing with the traffic, rather than dealing with the traffic and taking phone calls. I’m no different to most people and must admit that I missed a few junctions and made a few wrong turns as a result of being on the phone. Now, you just pull into a service station and catch up with calls periodically. It is a bit frustrating sometimes when you have to keep stopping to make calls as you want to reach your destination at a particular time, but you just prioritise the calls and deal with the urgent ones. The phone calls are generally shorter and more to the point as you know you want to get on your way”.
From JY: “Jacobs has been the recipient of several industry awards, as well as accreditations including achieving Driving for Better Business Champion status.”
What would you warn organisations not to overlook?
From JD: "Identifying the need to capture grey fleet information."
From JY: “Don’t forget to include all your employees, not just those who are seen as your ‘drivers’. What about the facilities lead who manages multiple sites and needs to get across town at short notice to resolve an issue at another location? The receptionist who just needs to “nip out” to the post office for a last-minute special delivery? These are all business journeys and need to be managed as part of your driver safety programme.”
From KS: “It is important to remember the grey fleet, measure against the risk exposure of work drivers and decide on its priority for roll out. Tackle the biggest risk to safety first as opposed to what’s easy to achieve. Informative and timely communication to drivers through line management and company-wide communication events has been essential in providing drivers with an understanding of the benefits they receive from our safety initiatives.”
Any other comments?
From JY: “Our drivers have recognised that we are not ‘Big Brother’ and our driver risk management programme is there to support them as individuals. We just provide them with the information and training they need to stay safe whilst driving for work. The training provided is always bespoke to the individual driver and tailored to their specific training needs so they can get the most out of it. One driver recently said, ‘I really enjoyed the driving course with ADT, it was extremely informative whilst being informal enough to put me at ease. Thank you very much!’
“Driving is a very emotive subject and people can feel like they are being watched or judged. But, with the right communication strategy and a supportive management team who lead by example, it is possible to get everyone on side. They can really consider the impact their driving behaviours might have on their own safety as well as that of other road users."
In summary, a comprehensive, fully managed WRRR Programme can deliver the following benefits:
- Compliance with WRRR related Health and Safety/Duty of Care requirements (and help avoid the threat of Corporate Manslaughter related Prosecution)
- Reduced accidents, resulting in significant cost and time savings and reduced insurance premiums/ costs
- Enhanced staff safety and wellbeing and raised CSR profile
- Protection of company brand and corporate reputation
- Improved operational efficiency and reduced incident related absenteeism
- Differentiating your business to employees, customers and all stakeholders by demonstrating a serious commitment to WRRR, driver safety and legal compliance
So, where do you start?
A WRRR Process and Policy Review will benchmark your organisation against current best practice. A meaningful gap analysis will immediately help you to understand any current shortfalls. It will crucially identify the following:
- Areas for improvement with respect to current company processes and policies
- Duty of Care and legal compliance risk/exposure
- Risk of prosecution under HSE Guidance/Corporate Manslaughter Legislation
- Corporate brand/reputational risk to the organisation
- How to reduce incidents and the risk of harm to your employees and the other road users
- The potential risk of management failings contributing to employees being involved in a collision
- Ways to achieve significant cost and time savings, plus improvements to operational efficiency
IHE Member Offer
As part of our support of 'Road Safety Week 2019', Applied Driving Techniques (ADT) is offering IHE members a free, comprehensive, on-site WRRR Process and Policy Review.
Following your review, you will be provided with a WRRR Benchmarking and Gap Analysis Report which will include a prioritised list of future recommendations.
ADT is a multi-award-winning specialist of WRRR and driver safety management, providing fully managed services to international clients. Current organisations under ADT’s management include Jacobs, Scottish and Southern Energy (SSE) and Amey, as well as organisations from other industries, including the pharmaceutical, media, transport, utility and charity sectors.
If you would like to take advantage of this exclusive IHE members offer, simply contact Dr Jim Golby of Applied Driving Techniques (ADT) via your chosen method below: