Preparation prevents poor performance. It’s a proverb that permeates our lives.
Think back to your school days – putting some preparation in for a test would most likely lead to a better outcome.
Now, fast forward to last weekend. Whether it’s the Under 12s or the professional sportspeople you spent time watching, they devote significant periods of their life preparing to perform at their best on game day.
So, as an industry, do we do the same for those who drive for work, so they can perform at their best in the riskiest task they will face in their working day?
Yes, we perform pre-trip inspections, but that’s focused on the equipment, not the person in charge of it. And yes, many companies have Fitness for Duty policies, but often this is an annual GP check; rarely does it delve into the actual wellbeing of workers who drive for work purposes.
Wellbeing significantly influences driver behaviour and there is a strong link between driver wellbeing and safer driving. It follows, then, that an increased focus on the wellbeing of those who drive for work holds major potential for reducing workplace road safety risk and the road toll.
With the specific and identifiable challenges facing professional drivers, plus the disproportionately high number of kilometres they travel, there is an opportunity to reduce road crashes and trauma by increasing our focus on driver wellbeing.
And the benefits won’t be limited to those individual drivers, but their families, employers and any of us who spend time on or around our roads.
The link between driver wellbeing and road safety will be highlighted as part of NRSPP’s November webinar – It Makes Good Business Sense: Well Drivers Drive Well which will also share benefits and strategies for professional drivers and their employers to focus on the wellbeing of those who regularly drive for work. The webinar is supported by an NRSPP Thought Leadership piece, ‘Well drivers drive well: How driver wellbeing at work makes us all safer’, exploring the issue in more detail.
“Driving for work purposes is the most dangerous activity an employee can undertake and in fact is the leading cause of work-related deaths and injuries,” says Innovation Group’s Paul Elliott.
“Professional drivers are expected to have more crashes per year than private drivers because they usually drive very high mileages and are often required to drive under time pressures imposed by tight schedules.
“By focusing on driver wellbeing, it is possible to create safer and healthier driving environments, reduce crashes, improve driver performance, and enhance overall job satisfaction and quality of life.
“Therefore, professional drivers want a safer and healthier driving environment with crash prevention, improved driver performance and enhanced overall job satisfaction, and employers need to understand the legal, societal, business and cost reasons why managing and mitigating road risk is important not only to driver wellbeing, but the sustainability of the organisation. It would also provide a safer driving environment for other road users.”
For Zurich Resilience Solutions’ Jay Ball, maximising driver wellbeing and safe driving requires a focus on both the individual driver as well as their supervisor or manager.
“Drivers need education on how wellbeing improves their driving and, conversely, degrades their ability to drive, and supervisors need training on how to spot the signs of fatigue or poor wellbeing in their drivers, and how to address it appropriately in the workplace,” Jay says.
“It’s a wholistic approach of employee education, in addition to management awareness and follow-up to ensure that drivers have access to the most up-to-date information and advice to help them make better decisions and choices.
“A driver who is well rested, trained and competent in their role, and takes pride in the organisation they work for and their role, is more likely to make sensible decisions behind the wheel.”
Click here to access the full toolbox talk “Drive Well and Driver Wellbeing”
Click here to register for the NRSPP webinar, It makes good business sense: Well Drivers Drive Well, and here to read the Thought Leadership piece ‘Well drivers drive well: How driver wellbeing at work makes us all safer’