How Road Safety Week 2023 is tackling complacency
Road risk continues to pose a significant threat across the rail industry, leading to fatalities among both the workforce and the public. Sadly, three workforce fatalities have occurred within the past two years, accounting for an alarming 75% of workforce fatalities in the same time period.
Statistics from RSSB’s latest Road Risk Safety Performance Report suggest that ‘driver error’ is the second most common cause of recorded road accidents among the rail workforce (behind ‘third-party activities’). In particular, telematics data—collected via GPS technology and onboard diagnostics systems installed on some of industry’s road vehicles—is suggesting that speeding is a current issue among drivers in the rail industry.
There are important factors driving these trends. One is the number of employees relying on road vehicles to transport themselves, goods, and equipment to and from the railway. A second is that road driving makes up a large part of many people’s lives, both in and out of work. This means that personal driving habits can affect professional driving habits, including in negative ways.
Recognising this, the objective of this year’s Road Safety Week is to raise awareness and prompt leaders, managers, and employees to think about the possible consequences associated with driving for work-related purposes.
This year’s theme is ‘tackling complacency’. It asks managers and frontline staff to ask themselves, ‘Is my organisation serious about driving safety?’ By highlighting this issue, Road Safety Week aims to emphasise the importance of remaining vigilant and proactive in managing occupational road risk.
The RSSB Road Risk Group and each of the rail industry sector road risk groups have come together in partnership with National Highways’ Driving for Better Business (DfBB) and BRAKE, the road safety charity, to encourage all rail employees to join in the activities during Road Safety Week 2023 and to help raise awareness of the risks when driving for work purposes.
Why not get involved in some of their events? From Monday 20 November to Friday 24 November, you can find the Community Safety Bus at select locations around the Wales and Western region. With the invitation now open to workers in passenger train and freight operating organisations in each area, this is a unique opportunity to engage directly with the road safety mission. Dates and locations are as follows:
Monday 20 November
- AM: GWR Laira Depot (Plymouth)
- PM: Exeter Riverside Yard
Tuesday 21 November
- AM: Bristol Kingsland Road
- PM: Hawkeridge Triangle (Westbury)
Wednesday 22 November
- AM: Didcot Station Car Park
- PM: Swindon D.U.
Thursday 23 November
- AM: Coleham Depot (Shrewsbury)
- PM: Hereford D.U.
Friday 24 November
- AM: Baglan D.U. (Port Talbot)
- PM: Cardiff Central Station Car Park
- daily vehicle checks.
The materials included in the toolkit are accessible through a variety of media, so whatever their role, rail employees who drive as part of their work will find a resource or information to help them.
Together, and by laying out practical actions to address speeding, fatigue, and vehicle health, we can help reduce the risk of road accidents within the rail industry.