Addressing Work-Related Road Risk (WRRR): Why it matters to the safety of your staff, your brand and your bottom line.
Jen Yaxley, WRRR Lead for Jacobs, and Dr Jim Golby, Director of Research and Customer for Applied Driving Techniques (ADT), highlight why addressing the safety of employees driving for work is a business-critical and highly beneficial initiative.
Jacobs and ADT are multi-award-winning, global organisations that have been working together to address the serious issues of driver safety and driving-related incidents. Jen and Jim are members of the ‘Brake’ Road Safety Charity’s Global Fleet Champions Steering Group. Jim is also a member of the European Transport Safety Council’s (ETSC) Expert Panel.
The partnership has a long history industry recognition. Having recently won multiple awards in the Mercia Branch IHE Awards, Jacobs and Applied Driving Techniques are currently up for two Brake Fleet Safety awards and are also in the running for a 2019 Safer Highways award.
Driving on company business, or Work-Related Road Risk (WRRR) as it is known, is quite simply the most dangerous activity an 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 UK roads are during ‘at work’ journeys.
According to the European Transport Safety Council (ETSC), it is estimated that business drivers account for 30-40% of road deaths across the UK and Europe and the OHSA’s figures for the USA confirm this highly concerning statistic.
Even with these frightening statistics, the UK boasts a heavily regulated environment that has led to safer roads in recent years. As a result, the UK’s best practice solutions are being rolled out across Europe with the rest of the world quickly following suit. Other countries, like Australia, are keen to reduce the significant risks faced by valued employees during their working day.
Regardless of the UK’s enviable standards of managing WRRR, the levels of employer proactivity in this regard often fall short of what is required. This is a serious cause for concern.
No employer wishes for an unsafe work journey – we all want to get home safe to our families – but there appears to be a distinct deficit of due attention paid to driver safety. Startling, there lacks a passion to ensure an organisation is even legally compliant to their clearly defined legal and duty of care obligations.
The HSE requirements for WRRR was first issued in 2004 but the stark reality is that, 15 years later, many organisations of all sizes are still failing to address WRRR with the enthusiasm it most certainly deserves. The absence of any UK-wide compliance audit means that in 2019 organisations can get away with doing very little when they are playing with the lives of their employees.
Jen Yaxley said: “At Jacobs we are totally committed to maximising the safety of our employees driving for work. We are amazed at the results we have achieved since our partnership with ADT. By proactively enhancing our WRRR activities we have achieved over 70% reduction in our vehicle accident rates in the last two years alone.”
It is also important to highlight the issue of the large but oft-forgotten ‘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 their personal vehicle.
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. This leaves many employers and their staff highly exposed.
Vehicle-related incidents at work are both extremely costly and time consuming which adversely effects operational efficiency, absenteeism and insurance costs. However, by failing to comply with their obligations, many UK & ROI organisations are overlooking these exorbitant WRRR associated costs and accepting them as merely unavoidable. They are written off as the “cost of doing business”. That is not the case.
Inexplicably, many organisations are operating without a clearly defined Driver Safety Policy, much less a robust, systematic and legally compliant approach to addressing their WRRR responsibilities. Typically, companies only review their fleet safety reactively, following a high cost collision or worse, a fatality.
Dr Jim Golby commented: “I was first given the WRRR responsibility in 2004 when I was the Head of HR at Merck Serono Pharmaceuticals. I was tasked with ensuring our organisation was legally compliant to the ‘Driving at Work’ legislation whilst protecting the safety and wellbeing of both our staff and corporate reputation. Back then, I never guessed that simply doing the right thing as required would result in a 50% reduction in vehicle incidents in the space of just two years.”
There is a real opportunity for safety focused organisations of all sizes to take the lead and champion proactive action. It’s simple: focus on fulfilling legal WRRR responsibilities and significant cost savings will follow. Meeting HSE guidance through the implementation of a comprehensive and fully compliant approach will protect your valued employees and your brand reputation.
A robust WRRR program can achieve:
- Compliance to Health and Safety/Duty of Care obligations (including both company and grey fleet’” drivers)
- Fewer accidents, resulting in serious cost and time savings
- Control of rising insurance premiums and associated vehicle incident related costs
- Protection of the safety and wellbeing of valued employees
- Protection of company brand and reputational
- Improved operational efficiency
- Reduced accident related absenteeism
- Reduced vehicle running costs (e.g. fuel consumption, maintenance)
- Differentiation of your business by demonstrating a serious commitment to WRRR, driver safety and legal compliance to internal and external stakeholders and customers
Addressing WRRR also delivers other business-critical benefits, such as:
- Legal Compliance: ensuring that the business is fully legally compliant with the HSE’s “Driving at Work” guidance. Without a proper and robust process in place, you and your organisation are potentially exposed to the risk of prosecution if one of your employees is involved in a serious incident whilst driving at work. Therefore, non-compliance quite simply isn’t an option.
- Protecting Employees and Saving Lives: nothing is more important than protecting the safety and wellbeing of your most valued asset – your people.
- Enhancing your CSR Profile: every employer wants to take all reasonable steps to ensure their employees get home safely every night, but is your organisation truly doing enough?
The Law is simple.
The Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 states 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 Regulations encompass 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).
It is, therefore, a business-critical activity and one that must be attended to. Beneficially, significant operational savings are achievable in doing so, with collision rates typically dropping by 30 to 40% when a WRRR program is implemented.
Jen Yaxley said: “After just two years, we reached a milestone of safety for Jacobs UK/ROI. We achieved over 7 million business miles driven with zero accidents over 9 mph (fault or no fault). Our employees would all attest to their appreciation of the energy and efforts we make to keep them safe.”
Where do you start?
An WRRR Legal Compliance and Driver Safety Review with best practice benchmarking and gap analysis will help you to understand your current shortfalls. It will identify the following:
- Areas for improvement in any existing processes and policies
- Duty of Care and legal compliance risk/exposure
- Risk of prosecution under HSE guidance/Corporate Manslaughter legislation
- Financial and corporate brand risk to the organisation
- Risk of harm to your employees and the other road users
- Risk of management failings contributing to employees being involved in a collision
- Ways to make significant cost and time savings
Applied Driving Techniques (ADT) would like to help Safer Highways readers to proactively and successfully address WRRR. As such, ADT are delighted to provide Safer Highways readers with a free, comprehensive, on-site Legal Compliance and Driver Safety 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 offer, simply contact Dr Jim Golby of Applied Driving Techniques via your chosen method below: