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The most dangerous activity people do at work is driving so managing occupational road risk needs to be a key priority for companies, says Adam Grinsell.
Driving is the most dangerous work activity that most people do. Police accident data shows that every year almost one-third of road deaths in the UK – more than 500 people – are killed in collisions involving motorists who are driving for work. On top of that, there are a further 5,000 who are seriously injured, and 40,000 who are slightly injured. This includes other road users, as well as the at-work drivers.
Few organisations can operate without using the road network and as a consequence, occupational road risk is likely to be their biggest safety issue.
And yet, organisations have been slow to recognise this and driving for work is still being treated as the poor cousin of occupational health and safety.
Road crashes during the course of work, even minor ones, are a major cause of loss and a threat to corporate morale and reputation. All employers have duties of care to their staff and the people that they interact with, and thus need to manage this risk within the overall framework that they should have in place for managing health and safety generally (policies, organisation, procedures).
Outside of the moral and bottom-line reasons to properly manage this issue, there are very real and stark legal implications too. The HSE’s Driving at Work guidelines stat that “health and safety law applies to on-the-road work activities, and the risks should be effectively manages within a health and safety system”
And while the majority of road safety law applies to drivers as individuals and their behaviour, various road traffic acts and regulations also require employers to ensure that vehicles used for work purposes are safe and legal to be on the road, and that drivers are properly licensed and insured. Employers can be held accountable for various “cause or permit” road traffic offences, such as causing or permitting someone to use a handheld mobile while at the wheel, use a vehicle in a dangerous condition, or drive on the road without a valid licence or insurance.
Whether large or small, organisations need to have a systematic way of assessing and eliminating or controlling the risks caused by their use of vehicles on the road.
Managing occupational road risk (MORR) is a concept developed by RoSPA in 1996. It should be a continuous process and part of the way an organisation manages its operations. It is never a one-off series of ‘fit-and-forget’ technical tweaks or interventions; it's a long-term management challenge, keeping the organisation up to the mark (reducing unnecessary travel, safe journeys, safe vehicles, safe driving), and learning and improving.
Important though they may be, it is not just about specific measures like licence and vehicle checking, driver assessment, driver training or even use of in-car technology to track driver/vehicle behaviours.
MORR is primarily about having the right policies, people and processes in place to work the problem, all underpinned by the right attitudes, leadership and overall safety values/culture. By getting these things right, risks can then be assessed, appropriate measures taken, outputs and outcomes can be monitored and lessons can be learned that can be fed back to improve overall road safety performance. Although it will look different in either case, this is just as true for an SME as it is for a major corporate.
Those businesses that have a strategic, quality assurance (plan, do, check, act) approach to delivering against their business goals will find this idea easier to develop than those that do not. No measurement means no management.
Crucially, everyone connected with the organisation’s operations on the road has responsibilities for safety, but the lead responsibility rests with the board and senior managers. It is they, helped by their advisers, who have to set and communicate expectations, approve plans, allocate time and resources and insist that the management chain makes MORR happen, providing visible, felt leadership in the way they approach road safety themselves.
There is a world of difference between those organisations where work-related road safety is delegated to the fleet manager and those where there is a real team-based approach involving fleet, health and safety, HR, occupational health, safety reps, insurers, vehicle providers and others, all led by senior management and delivered, like all other health and safety outcomes, via line managers.
MORR cannot just be delegated to ‘health and safety’ or to ‘fleet’ or to ‘HR’. Line managers and supervisors of all those staff who use the road in the course of their job have a key role to play. Training should not be limited to drivers – their line managers and supervisors also need training and peer support. And workers too need be involved, both as individuals and, where they have them, through their representatives.
Those that ‘get’ managing for health and safety (for example, if they have achieved ISO 45001) will easily ‘get’ MORR. But those who see health and safety as just a long list of compliance actions may think MORR is just about things like licence checks, having a driver handbook, disciplinary procedures and re-training for drivers who crash, driver training for all (regardless of competence/exposure), having an accident form, banning handheld mobiles, fitting in-car technology, having higher specification cars, or circulating messages about safer driving. These interventions may or may not be appropriate, but there is often the tendency to pluck them at random out of a catalogue, when they should be carefully selected, and based on some kind of analysis and management decision-making process.
But before any business can take steps to improve road safety in its operations, it needs to carry out an initial status, ‘where are you now?’, review: How many vehicles? How many drivers? How many miles? How many crashes/near-misses? Causes? Costs? Has it got a clear MORR policy, and a plan with targets? What are the objectives? Have these been consulted on? Have they been communicated? Are they ‘owned’, particularly by line managers and drivers? Have they triaged their main risks? What have they done so far to eliminate or reduce risk? What risk reduction measures have they taken? Have they trained their managers? Are they tracking their implementation? Are they checking to see if these measures are actually making a difference? Are they collecting data on and learning from accidents and incidents? Are they making time and space and involving the right people to review performance regularly against plans and targets? Are they improving? Are they rewarding and celebrating success?
The aim with any initial status review should be to see what is already in place around the ‘plan, do, check, act’ cycle and to find out what is missing. There has to be a focus on the organisation's capacity to manage occupational road risk effectively, not just on the ability and motivation of their drivers to drive safely. A good test of whether there really is a joined up management approach, or whether the MORR agenda has simply been delegated to ‘fleet’, is to look to see whether drivers' line managers are fully involved (being trained and accountable) and whether there is meaningful employee engagement and consultation.
Once this thorough, initial assessment and gap analysis has taken place, the continuous plan, do, check, act cycle can begin.
An intelligent approach will incorporate periodic and well-structured senior management performance reviews, bringing in all the disciplines to look in-depth at trends, not just crashes but upstream issues such as driver behaviours (from telematics) and attitudes (from climate surveys). And they will also look radically at other options such as optimising travel plans, reducing road travel, and integrating MORR with other health and safety issues like site transport safety, manual handling, and loading and unloading.
So, organisations need to be honest with themselves – are they taking an ad hoc, ill-conceived approach to managing their road risk, or are they really being strategic in their approach?
RoSPA has a range of free guidance for those unsure of the answer or encountering the subject for the first time, and for those looking to take management of their occupational road risk to the next level, we also have a range of consultancy and training services to suit. And don’t forget, the best of the best should also be entering the RoSPA Health and Safety Awards to secure recognition for their achievements and to show others what good looks like.
Adam Grinsell is acting head of engagement at ROSPA. For more information, visit www.rospa.com
|Put your organisation in the spotlight!||29/11/2018|
FROM THE internationally renowned RoSPA Achievement and Sector Awards to the brand new Inspiration Awards, winning a RoSPA Health & Safety Award will raise your organisation's profile to customers, peers and stakeholders.
What’s more, winners are encouraged to become part of the exclusive Awards Excellence Forum, a network of likeminded award winners offering support and sharing advice that can provide help with not only your award entry – but also safety management systems and career development. Take a look at our Award Winner case studiesto find out why almost 2000 organisations value a RoSPA Award above all others.
With hundreds of organisations from across the globe having already registered for the chance to be awarded a prestigious accolade, could 2019 mark your #RoSPAWinnermoment?
“Each year I am amazed by the quality of the RoSPA Award Winners and the hundreds of organisations who demonstrate their commitment to raising health and safety standards.”- Dee Arp, Director of Technical Standards, NEBOSH
|2019 RoSPA Health & Safety Awards||04/10/2018|
The RoSPA Health & Safety Awards are back with NEW awards categories and NEW sponsors, the constantly evolving scheme is the best way to recognise and reward ongoing commitment to raising health and safety standards.
Alongside the much sought after and globally recognised RoSPA Achievement Awards and Competitive Trophies, we are delighted to announce the launch of new Award categories: The Inspiration Awards, which celebrate individuals, teams and initiatives that are a source of inspiration and pride worthy of shouting about, The Leisure Safety Awards, and The Safe@Work Safe@Home Award.
Being an award winner unlocks countless benefits, including invitations to our Awards Excellence Forum, gain valuable CPD points and recognition from press, stakeholders, customers and much more.
Register online at www.rospa.com/awards, before October 31 and save up to £65. Make 2019 a year to remember, and become part of our award winning community.
|RoSPA focus on machinery safety||16/09/2018|
EVEN WHEN workplaces are made as safe as possible, risks can still remain, which is why Machinery safety is enshrined in UK health and safety law.
Those who own or manage engineering and manufacturing firms are therefore responsible for ensuring machine and equipment safety, including operatives, as well as managers.
RoSPA has a suite of Machinery Safety training courses designed to guard against injury, and meet legal duties:
RoSPA’s Power Press Safety course is designed to provide delegates with the knowledge and understanding to properly inspect, test and maintain power press machines to keep operators safe from serious injury.
Our Abrasive Wheels Safety course will allow you to adhere to the PUWER 98 act whilst also giving your employees who use, mount and manage abrasive wheels the ability to work safely.
Additionally, it offers an Abrasive Wheels Instructors course which teaches how to instruct colleagues in the safe use of abrasive wheels, set training objectives and decide what training aids to use.
Not only that, RoSPA can fit around the demands of your business by offering these courses In-Company, as a flexible and adaptable alternative for delivering training to you when and where you require it.
T: +44 (0) 121 248 2233
|Level 3 manual handling trainers||09/08/2018|
MANUAL HANDLING is one of the most common causes of injury at work and causes over a third of all workplace injuries. But these injuries can be prevented by making sure your organisation is equipped with the right knowledge and skills.
RoSPA’s accredited Level 3 Award - Manual Handling Trainers Course has been designed with the aim of developing a confident, motivated and professionally qualified manual handling trainer.
The course will equip the trainer with the knowledge and skills to deliver bespoke and effective manual handling techniques relevant to others within their organisation, creating a healthier workforce, reduce instances of MSDs, and help meet legislative requirements and current best practice.
The course adopts a blended learning approach which combines face-to-face instruction with self-directed e-learning to deliver improved costs and educational benefits that’s ideal for managers, supervisors, instructors, training officers and safety professionals who have a responsibility for training others.
If you want to learn more about our Manual Handling Trainers course you can visit our website where you’ll find a wealth of information including our 10 Tips for Manual Handling infographic - which is available free to download - to help you get off to the right start.
T: +44 (0) 121 248 2233
|RoSPA welcomes new product safety office||23/01/2018|
RoSPA has reacted positively to the Government's announcement of the Office for Product Safety and Standards.
The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) has welcomed the Government’s announcement of the Office for Product Safety and Standards, in response to calls for an improved approach to product safety in the UK.
The new body has been set up to provide a central technical and scientific resource to support local authorities and businesses, and was created in response to a report from the Working Group on Product Recalls and Safety, of which RoSPA is a part.
Errol Taylor, RoSPA chief executive and member of the Working Group, said: “RoSPA advocates an evidence-based, cross-industry approach in its accident prevention work, and we are pleased to see the creation of a body that engenders this ethos.
“In support of this, data collection on product safety issues and subsequent injuries must be improved, and we are delighted to see that the Government has recognised this as part of its recommendations, stating that 'systematic and sustainable ways to capture and share data and intelligence should be established and agreed by relevant parties'.
“We hope that the new body, and the Government’s other recommendations, will lead to better co-ordination and central support and leadership for major product safety issues.”
RoSPA has worked extensively on the issue of product safety and recalls, and has been part of the group which produced PAS 7100 – the code of practice for recalls.
The charity has also been working with the Royal College of Emergency Medicine (RCEM) to improve data collection on injuries, recently helping the NHS to adopt the Emergency Care Data Set, which it is hoped will provide a better understanding of the causes of injuries to people attending A&E departments.
|Entries for the RoSPA Health and Safety Awards 2018 are now open!||31/10/2017|
There is no better way to show continued commitment to maintaining and improving safety standards.
What’s more, completing a RoSPA Awards submission involves reflecting on and reviewing your previous year’s occupational health and safety performance. This means entering your submission is an ideal reflective activity which may count towards your continuous professional development portfolio.
Before you go, watch our brand new celebration video showcasing the best of the 2017 Awards.
|Errol Taylor appointed as new chief executive of RoSPA||10/07/2017|
The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents’ Board of Trustees has announced the appointment of Errol Taylor as the charity’s new chief executive.
Errol, who has been leading the organisation in an interim capacity since November 2016, joined RoSPA in 2004, initially heading up RoSPA’s commercial activities before developing the case for accident prevention as a public health priority and establishing RoSPA’s Ofqual-recognised qualifications business. He has been RoSPA’s deputy chief executive since 2006.
RoSPA is currently marking its centenary and highlights so far have included the launch of a RoSPA exhibition at the iconic Library of Birmingham, a visit by HRH The Duke of York and the RoSPA Centenary Royal Garden Party at Buckingham Palace. RoSPA is also leading the development of a National Accident Prevention Strategy.
Errol Taylor said: “I am honoured to become chief executive of RoSPA, particularly at what is such an important time for our charity. We have always been clear that our centenary should not just be an opportunity to look back and highlight past successes, but that it should also be focused firmly on the challenges that remain in accident prevention. Accidents disproportionately affect the most vulnerable members of our society – those who are young, old or disadvantaged – and this is something that we are working tirelessly to address. I am proud to lead a fantastic team of dedicated colleagues and look forward to continuing to develop RoSPA’s valued relationships with other individuals and organisations across the health and safety community.”
Mike Parker, chairman of RoSPA’s Board of Trustees, said: “The Board believes that Errol’s passion for accident prevention, energy, skills and experience will ensure RoSPA’s continued success for the foreseeable future. His enthusiasm for working in partnership with RoSPA’s many like-minded stakeholder organisations should, in time, lead to a significant reduction in the burden of accidental injury.”
Prior to RoSPA, Errol enjoyed senior customer-facing roles within the services, engineering and retail sectors. A Fellow of both the Institute of Directors (IoD) and the Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH), he is qualified as a Chartered Director with an MBA, an engineering degree and he is a gold grade RoSPA advanced driver. Married with three grown-up children, Errol is an advanced scuba diver who also enjoys cycling.
Errol succeeds Tom Mullarkey MBE, who decided to stand down after nearly 11 years as chief executive. During this period, Tom successfully led the RoSPA team through some difficult financial and business challenges and more recently, in efforts to have the value of accident prevention recognised fully by political and healthcare influencers. Errol said: “We are grateful for Tom’s valuable contribution and the firm foundation that it provides for us to look ahead with renewed vigour, boldly stating that accidents do not have to happen.”
|Preventability key in healthcare rationalisation says RoSPA||14/11/2016|
Preventability must be at the heart of efforts to ease the rising pressure on healthcare services, says Tom Mullarkey, chief executive of RoSPA, in the charity’s latest Annual Review.
In the newly published RoSPA Annual Review 2015/16, Tom asserts: “If your business is prevention, you can hardly avoid the metric of intervention that is preventability.”
For children, for example, he sets out that 65% of preventable deaths, 75% of preventable hospital admissions and more than 90% of preventable A&E attendances are caused by accidents. And across the population as a whole, accidents cause 65% of preventable A&E attendances – about 7.5million.
Given the rising demands on healthcare services, he describes prioritisation as 'the only way ahead', and outlines RoSPA’s analytical tool, The Matrix, which enables local authority decision-makers to make an assessment of preventability across the full range of public health issues.
“The Matrix has now been tried by several local authorities leading to two incredible conclusions,” he says. “The first is that we are not, as a nation, spending our money optimally, to give our people the longest, healthiest lives. The second is that when we do the impact calculations more rationally, accident prevention becomes a major priority.”
RoSPA’s Annual Review 2015/16 describes the charity’s work towards its mission to save lives and reduce injuries. Among the highlights were 3.6m views of RoSPA’s main website which contains extensive advice and information on home, road, workplace, leisure and education safety, plus an additional 2.2m views of RoSPA’s dedicated child car seats website. Across England, the total number of families to benefit from a cleaning products safety campaign reached 250,000, while 15,000 Glasgow families received safety advice about liquid laundry capsules in 2015/16 alone.
The RoSPA Annual Review 2015/16 is available here.
|RoSPA calls for time-shift fit for 21st century||26/10/2016|
As the daylight savings system reaches 100 years old in 2016, family safety charity RoSPA – which also celebrates its centenary this year – is calling for a change from the current regime of GMT in the winter and GMT+1 in the summer.
The new system, Single/Double Summer Time (SDST), would move the clock forward to GMT+1 in the winter, and GMT+2 in the summer. This would increase evening sunlight all year round.
British Summer Time (BST) was introduced during the First World War in May 1916 in response to the German decision to take the same step to make the most of daylight hours. In the UK for the rest of the war, the clocks ran one hour ahead of GMT through the summer.
This same practice has been implemented by the Government since then, other than a short period during the Second World War and an experiment between 1968 and 1971, during which year-round BST was trialled, saving around 2500 deaths and serious injuries each year of the trial period.
But 100 years on from its introduction, RoSPA is once again calling for a more significant change to the system which has now been made obsolete through changing technology, working practices, tourist habits and other factors.
According to RoSPA, the current system is also dangerous for pedestrians. Every autumn when the clocks go back and the sunset occurs earlier in the day, road casualties rise, with the effects being worse for vulnerable road users like pedestrians, children, the elderly, cyclists and motorcyclists.
In 2015, pedestrian deaths rose from 27 in September to 42 in October, 45 in November and 58 in December.
Kevin Clinton, RoSPA’s head of road safety, said: “Child pedestrians are particularly vulnerable during the afternoon school run, when they digress on their way home and so are exposed to traffic risk for longer than their morning trip to school. During that period motorists are also tired after the day’s work, concentration levels are low, and journey times are increased due to shopping and social trips.
“For these reasons, increased evening daylight would produce significant results in preventing accidents to children and other road users.”
RoSPA chief executive Tom Mullarkey added: “Not only would we save a significant number of lives through a change to SDST, but we would also boost the tourism industry, increase recreational time for children through sports and other activity, allow older people to reduce the winter evening curfew, lower opportunistic crime, and decrease CO2 production and fuel costs, all in one fell swoop. It is the only way we can make so many material improvements to our country, at a stroke, at no cost.
“Unfortunately there are those who are determined to cling onto a practice which was innovative and forward-looking in 1916 but which has not been updated to its full potential a hundred years later. In these conditions of economic uncertainty and austerity, this simple measure would raise everyone’s morale and set us up to deal with whatever troubles may lie ahead. We need our politicians to show the leadership and foresight of their wartime forbears, in our darkest hour.”
For more information on SDST see www.rospa.com/road-safety/advice/road-users/british-summertime-fact-sheet/ and www.rospa.com/lets-talk-about/2016/october/lighter-evenings/.