Many companies are managing the risks of drivers on company business “inconsistently and in some cases poorly”, which is a risk to themselves and other road users.
That’s the view of Tony Ashford, health, safety, environmental and quality manager at civil engineering and construction contractor Alun Griffiths Contractors.
Commenting on the overall picture of road safety management by companies in the UK in the run up to Road Safety Week (November 21-27), he said: “Today’s working environment demands more and more from us all which, at times, can lead to inappropriate behaviours - use of hands-free mobile phones, exceeding the speed limit, driving for long periods without appropriate rest, inadequate training, fatigue and the like.
“Although, in the majority of cases, these are not deliberate violations people sometimes do the wrong things for what they feel are the right reasons - it takes demonstrable leadership and discipline by all to ensure that the correct driving behaviours and awareness are maintained at all times.”
Abergavenny-based Alun Griffiths, which works on a large number of rail projects, has started to use IAM RoadSmart’s Virtual Risk Manager programme this week, initially to senior managers before being rolled out to the entire rail division, which has 130 drivers.
The intention is to extend this to all other divisions of Alun Griffiths, which would take in more than 500 additional drivers.
Ashford explained: “In my job I have to assess risk, and we have many drivers who work early and late shifts and are on the roads at unusual hours. It was important for the company to ensure those journeys are made in the safest way possible.
“Both the emotional and financial costs to families, businesses and the wider community of an accident are catastrophic. We, as a responsible employer have clear legislative duties to manage occupational road risk in the same way as we manage other health and safety risks to ensure that our people are not hurt in any way.”
He added that Alun Griffiths’ involvement with IAM RoadSmart is a long-term partnership with an aligned and ongoing vision to ensure the company provides a suitable risk management framework together with an effective learning platform that will provide the safest possible driving environment.
Ashford said: “I approached IAM RoadSmart because of the great reputation it has in this area and how their aspirations align with our goals.”
In parallel with IAM RoadSmart’s learning modules, Alun Griffiths will be using telematics systems which will report back to line managers any minor collisions, scrapes or hard use.
Ashford said: “Using the roads is a necessary part of our working lives. But it’s an ordinary activity that can lead to an unacceptable level of injury and fatalities. Our Greater Education and Awareness of Roadrisk (GEAR) programme consisting of identification, instruction, early management intervention and education.
“This will provide our drivers with the tools and support to ensure that they are as best prepared as they can be, reducing the probability of being involved in a Road Traffic Collision to its lowest level.
“We care about our people and improving the safety of working environment is a key function of the Alun Griffiths Rail management team.”
Lesley Upham, commercial director at IAM RoadSmart welcomes Ashford’s proactive approach to reducing the risk to his drivers.
She said: “For a company like Alun Griffiths safety is a fundamental part of everyday business and it is great to see this initiative is being led from the front with senior managers undertaking the first set of assessment and training.”