Road Driving for a Safer Railway - Getting Suppliers to Drive for Better Business

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Chances are if you work in the rail industry in the UK you’ll be used to dealing with risk, identifying it, assessing it, and putting in place controls to minimise it. And, whatever your role in the industry, when you think of risk what comes to mind? Trains, passengers, electricity, engineering works, maintenance, hazardous substances, level crossings… All these, and more, are risks managed on the railway day to day.

Listen to Podcast 37 on DfBB.

But have you considered road risk? Hang on, I can hear you say, we’re the railway, we don’t do roads! But you do. Getting to, from, or between yards, depots, or work sites, you’ll almost always use the road. And that creates a risk, whether you are driving, or riding, or being driven. Driving or riding for work is one of the biggest risks to business. Of all road traffic collisions that cause injury, at least one-third involve someone driving for work. Employers have a duty of care under Health and Safety legislation to manage this risk. Simply put:

  • The company must not do anything that puts its drivers and riders at risk.
  • The company’s work-related driving activities must not endanger other road users.
  • Directors, or those in control of the activity, must put appropriate policies and procedures in place to ensure this is so.
  • All drivers and riders must always follow those policies and procedures.
  • Drivers and riders must comply with the law and the Highway Code.

So, companies need to manage their own organisational work-related road risk. And know that their suppliers are doing the same. Road incidents at work are not reportable under RIDDOR, but that doesn’t mean they’re unimportant. Incidents on the road cause significant harm both physically and mentally. If you or your suppliers are not managing this risk well it will impact your business. There could be lost time; increased costs for servicing, repairs, and fuel; and higher insurance premiums.

The Health and Safety Executive has recently updated its guidance on managing work-related road risk. If you’re following that guidance then you’re doing what you need to, to meet your duty of care. Here’s the link: LHSBR has 5 strategic challenges for work-related road risk and it’s one of the key safety areas for improvement. More information and resources can be found on the website.

And finally, the National Highways Driving for Better Business Programme is supporting the rail industry all the way. There’s a dedicated rail sector gateway,, and all resources are free to access and use.

Make time to discuss work-related road risk with your suppliers. National Highways and the RSSB, working together to improve safety, efficiency, and sustainability on the road.

Anne-Marie Penny has worked in road safety for nearly two decades. She was involved in a life-threatening motorbike crash in 1995 and her passion to reduce road crash casualties and the physical and mental trauma that result, stems from this experience. She is now the Senior Road Safety Policy Adviser at National Highways, and leads the Driving for Better Business programme.

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