15 Dec Driver safety in remote workplaces
Work-related vehicle accidents and road trauma are one of the leading causes of workplace health and safety (WHS) incidents.
According to Australian Workers’ Compensation data, these vehicle accidents cost Australian industries $500 million each year – not including medical and personal expenses – and worker absences from these accidents are longer than any other type of workplace safety incident.
That is not to mention the pain and grief of fatalities that occur in workplace-related accidents involving vehicles or machinery.
According to Safe Work Australia, work-related vehicle crashes account for almost half of all occupational fatalities in Australia and 15 per cent of the national road toll.
Research conducted by the National Road Safety Strategy shows that 182 workers were involved in a crash that led to work-related traumatic injury fatalities in Australia in 2016 and 54 per cent of those involved a vehicle.
Vehicle collisions made up 42 per cent of these fatalities, being hit by a moving vehicle made up 9 per cent.
Of these vehicle fatalities, mobile plant and transport made up 55 per cent of all incidents with trucks, semi-trailers and lorries the main contributors. Cars, station wagons, vans and utilities made up 12 per cent.
An Australasian Road Safety Research report showed that the average total insurance cost of a work-related crash in Australia is around $28,000 per incident.
These figures all highlight the need for strong workplace driver safety strategies to minimise incidents and ensure emergency support can reach workers rapidly.
To ensure the health of your workers that need to drive as part of their job, there are several strategies that safety managers can add to their business plans.
Ways you can improve workplace driving safety
Here are some tips to improve workplace driver safety and help limit accidents, injuries and fatalities:
- Install reversing cameras: If your work vehicles do not have them, get them installed. Reversing incidents are the most common cause of workplace collisions.
- Ensure your HSE compliance is up to date: This includes providing safe vehicles, machinery, materials and systems of work, information as well as driver training and supervision. This should include regular driving training and refresher courses.
- Ensure you have adequate staff: Fatigue is a major factor in vehicle accidents so ensure you have the right number of staff available so workers are not operating vehicles for long periods or without adequate rest.
- Maintain vehicles: Ensure vehicles are regularly and comprehensively serviced and maintained as well as replaced before they get too old. Any malfunction on the road can lead to dangerous outcomes.
- Incentives and sanctions: Reward drivers with a strong history of safe driving and ensure any accidents that are the result of the driver being at fault result in strong disciplinary action.
- Use journey management software: Journey Management System is a customised app available for road transport, mining and any other industry that involves fleet vehicles, machinery and/or travel between sites – especially in remote locations.
It operates by geotagging vehicles and monitoring your staff’s journey through a combination of mobile reception and GPS.
If they fail to reach a checkpoint in a designated time period, alerts will be triggered allowing for search and rescue efforts and an emergency response as required.