05 Jan The leading hazards in company travel
Company travel is one of the most dangerous activities an employee will undertake, with a range of hazards that can cause injuries and worse.
There are many industries where company travel is essential like the resources sector (oil, gas, mining and renewables), the transport industry and health services – to name a few.
HSE compliance extends to this company travel and organisations need strong risk management and journey management plans to ensure their workers are as safe as possible on the road.
Here are some of the main hazards workers will encounter on the road every day as part of their company travel:
Aggressive driving: This can be caused by the work driver themselves, or other motorists who are taking risks by driving in an aggressive manner.
Distracted driving: Primarily this is drivers using mobile devices while operating a vehicle.
Malfunctioning/poorly maintained vehicles: It is crucial that all vehicles are properly maintained and serviced to reduce the risk of malfunction on the road – especially in remote locations.
Fatigue: Research has shown that this is a primary cause of road accidents around the world, accounting for 15-30 per cent of all crashes, varying from country to country.
Unsecured loads: Remember that scene from Final Destination 2 with the logs? That is why properly secured loads should be at the top of every safety checklist.
Driver inexperience: Proper training, beyond normal licencing requirements, is important for all workers that will spend more time on the roads than the average motorist and are likely to encounter more hazards.
Other drivers: No matter how skilled, experienced, aware and adept a driver may be, the decisions of other motorists can always lead to road accidents.
Poor road conditions: This is especially pronounced in rural and remote areas where roads are not maintained or repaired as often as city roads, including dirt and gravel roads.
Wildlife: Animal strikes can have catastrophic repercussions. This is one of many reasons why night driving should be discouraged when visibility is poor.
Weather: Checking forecasts and managing necessary travel is highly important as high winds and driving rain dramatically reduce visibility and can cause vehicles to aquaplane off the road.
Time of day: While night driving is discouraged, glare can be a hazard as well. It is advised to avoid driving in the early morning and late afternoon hours when glare is at its worst.
Communication failure: When something goes wrong in a region that has low mobile/cell reception, what would you do? That is why journey management apps like JMS are a leading tool for company travel, sending alerts to management if a driver does not reach a checkpoint by using the GPS functionality of the mobile device.
Journey Management System works by logging a journey and establishing checkpoints and fatigue management break points. The process is then completely automatic with the mobile device sending alerts if something goes wrong.
This means emergency support and other assistance can be mobilised rapidly and workers are not left isolated in remote locations.