For many Australians the risk of death or serious illness by COVID has dramatically reduced, particularly for those with multiple vaccinations. In addition, much has been learnt about the virus, its variants, and how to treat those effected.
As the workplace begins to resume a more 'normal' appearance, we can expect the total number of kilometres travelled per capita to increase.
All things being equal, and as exposure increases, the risk increases. Therefor organisations can predict and anticipate a rise in the number of reportable incidents and injuries from motor vehicle crashes.
As an organisation, it is very important to monitor these events using a metric something like, "reportable incidents per million kilometres travelled" or "injuries per million kilometres travelled".
Given that organisations can predict an increase in incidents as staff return to work, and to driving, now is a good time to review how you're set up to manage driver safety.
1. Review motor vehicle and safe-driving policies & procedures to reflect your current situation. This should include known changes to work patterns like working from home but driving personal vehicles for work-related matters. Importantly, set and communicate safety goals for the next twelve months and beyond.
Check the currency of all licenses and/or qualifications. Importantly, validate the competency of all your drivers. Despite workplace safety law requiring "supervision", many line mangers assume a driver is competent because they can produce a driver's license, but this is not always the case. If you'd like a free guide to performing a driver competency assessment, contact the author. If your organisation has drivers attend or revise safe driver training periodically, organise this now as it has likely lapsed.
2. Audit the fleet to ensure it meets the minimum safety specifications as detailed in your (revised) policies and procedures. Take immediate action to bring all vehicles into specification, including repair of any damage (like a cracked/broken windscreen), wear and tear (like tyres), and general road worthiness.
3. Create and communicate a road safety awareness campaign that engages all employees. Use your creativity to produce a collaborative approach to promoting a culture of continuous improvement in driver safety. Smaller organisations with only a few vehicles may be receiving faulty feedback due to (a) a lack of reporting mechanisms in place (b) a reluctance to report a hazard or near-miss, and (c) an absence of incidents in recent times.
If you’d like help understanding, applying, or sharing these principles, please ask. Cheers, Jeremy Williams www.drivertrainingaustralia.com.au
First published February 2022
My dear colleagues in road safety, please take 'more than average' care during this awful COVID pandemic. Try applying Low Risk behaviours in other areas of you life. If you find yourself taking risks, ask your self, "How was I thinking at the time?". Was I "externalising", or was I thinking, "It won't happen to me"? We look forward to seeing you on the other side of this. Thanks for your continued support. Jeremy