Roads are essential to our everyday lives, and to our economic prosperity. We all use the roads in some way, by driving, riding, walking or travelling as a passenger, and we depend on them to obtain goods and services. Unfortunately, this comes at a price, which includes people being killed and injured.
Employers have a legal responsibility to provide a safe workplace. Road crashes can have a significant impact on the productivity of a business. ZRST cab support your organisation to implement an effective road safety education for all employees and their families.
The Occupational Health and Safety Act, No. 36 of 2010 requires employers to take appropriate steps to ensure the health and safety of their employees and others who may be affected by their activities when at work. This includes the time when they are driving or riding at work, whether this is in a company or hired vehicle, or in the employee’s own vehicle.
There will always be risks associated with driving. Although these cannot be completely controlled, an employer has a responsibility to take all reasonable steps to manage these risks and do everything reasonably practicable to protect people from harm in the same way as they would in the workplace.
While employers cannot exercise the same control over hazards to employees when they are driving or riding on the road as in the workplace, there are practical steps they should take to reduce the risks.
Work-related road safety can only be effectively controlled if it is integrated into arrangements for managing health and safety at work. For example, an employer should take account of the total number of hours worked, and not just the number of hours spent at the wheel, when planning driving schedules.
There are also many business benefits in managing work-related road safety, no matter how large or small your business is. For example:
fewer days lost due to injury;
fewer vehicles off the road for repair;
fewer missed orders;
reduced need for investigation and follow up.
Unitrans is a logistics company operating across Sub-Saharan Africa. In Botswana their drivers cover 1.7 million km a year in more than 200 heavy goods vehicles. They have developed a comprehensive fleet safety strategy to reduce road crashes and the associated costs to the business, and to improve efficiency.
All of their drivers go through an in-house training academy which teaches safe behaviours to protect themselves and other road users. Every vehicle is equipped with a ‘Drive Cam’ to allow managers to monitor safety performance, and to identify and address unsafe behaviour.
Weekly ‘toolbox talks’ (practical talks on-site) are a chance for drivers and managers to: discuss road safety topics; analyse recent incidents and near-misses; and review road safety policies. These regular sessions reinforce to staff the importance of road safety and help to engrain a safe driving culture.
Other initiatives include: a zero-tolerance drugs and alcohol policy enforced by regular breathalyser tests of driving staff; a ban on mobile phone use when driving; and a ‘fitness for work’ programme ensuring their drivers’ health is always at the standard required for safe driving.
Unitrans’ incident rate has dropped by more than 10% in the last year in Botswana and the company has been recognised with a number of industry awards for their commitment to road safety.
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