IOSH management of occupational road risk policy

An estimated quarter of road traffic accidents in Britain involve someone at work, meaning workers were potentially involved in a substantial number of the 1,780 reported road deaths and 22,830 people seriously injured in 2015-16.

As work-related road traffic accidents are a significant cause of preventable death and injury IOSH believes that more should be done to protect people from the hazards.

The facts

  • An estimated quarter of road traffic accidents in Britain involve someone at work, meaning workers were potentially involved in a substantial number of the 1,780 reported road deaths and 22,830 people seriously injured in 2015-16.

  • The Labour Force Survey estimates there are 70-100K non-fatal work-related road traffic accident (RTA) injuries each year, with around 30-40K of these causing more than 3 days absence. Currently, work-related road traffic accidents are not reportable under the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations (RIDDOR).

  • Many people drive as part of their work, either full or part time – though there is no official estimate of the numbers.

  • Employers have clear duties under the Health and Safety at Work (etc) Act 1974 and the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 to manage work-related health and safety risks, which will include their occupational road risks.

  • The consequences of accidents to the self-employed and small businesses are likely to be proportionately greater than for larger businesses with more resource.

  • The benefits of managing work-related road safety can be considerable, no matter what the size of your enterprise.

  • IOSH commissioned a Transport Research Laboratory literature review for evidence on the effectiveness of work-related road safety interventions and project report with stakeholder feedback (see reports).

  • The part played by sleepiness and tiredness in traffic accidents, particularly caused by obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA), has been recognised for almost 30 years. There are rules on driver licensing for patients with OSA.

Our position

As work-related road traffic accidents are a significant cause of preventable death and injury, IOSH believes that more should be done to protect people from the hazards. Employers should ensure they produce and effectively communicate a policy for the management of work-related road safety with their staff, recognising it as an investment not a cost.

Road safety policies should cover suitable and properly maintained vehicles; driver suitability, fitness and training; and realistic timescales for journeys to prevent stress or pressure to take risks. Journeys should be properly planned to avoid undue fatigue and plans reassessed if weather conditions deteriorate. Employers need to control the risks from ‘driver distraction’ and include this in their policy e.g. prohibit activities like phone-use and eating while driving.

Managers should also consider alternatives to driving, for example train travel or video- and tele-conferencing. And, in addition to road traffic accidents, employees should also be encouraged to inform employers of any serious near-misses on the road, so that lessons can be shared. 

IOSH has repeatedly called for work-related RTAs to be included as a reporting requirement under RIDDOR since 2001. We have also called for an improvement to the statistics collected by the Department of Transport in relation to road accidents and safety (STATS19 system) and welcomed the revision to this introduced in 2011.

Relevant consultation responses

Driving for Work: driver assessment and training (PDF 43KB), Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, 2006

Driving for Work: In vehicle technology (PDF 93KB), Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, 2006

The review of RIDDOR 1995 (DDE22) (PDF 144KB), The Health and Safety Executive, 2005

Seat Belt wearing-exemption while undertaking deliveries (PDF 106KB), Department for Transport, 2003

Mobile phones and driving - Proposal for an offence of using a hand held phone whilst driving (PDF 113KB), Department for Transport, 2002

Preventing at work road traffic accidents (DDE16), The Health and Safety Commission, 2001