In the road transport sector, as with any other, it is important to pay attention to working conditions in order to ensure a skilled and motivated workforce. Certain characteristics of the sector make it more difficult to practise risk management than for other sectors. But by taking account of how the sector operates in practice, and the characteristics of drivers themselves and the way they work, risks can be successfully managed. EU-OSHA has published a report of case studies in managing risks to road transport drivers. The cases feature a variety of initiatives and interventions to protect road transport drivers. Drivers work independently and away from a fixed base.
EU-OSHA has published a report of case studies in managing risks to road transport drivers (1). The cases feature a variety of initiatives and interventions to protect road transport drivers. Drivers work independently and away from a fixed base. They may be self-employed and often have long experience as drivers. This means that it is not always easy to communicate with them and consult and involve them, and they are not always open to change. Because of this, drivers need to be intimately involved in solutions — solutions need to be developed by drivers for drivers using participatory methods, in order to use their experience and gain their acceptance. It is also crucial to allow sufficient time to discuss, plan, trial and introduce changes.
The experience of drivers can also be harnessed by using them as advocates, trainers and mentors. There should be customer and stakeholder involvement in managing risks. Those involved in making deliveries do not operate in isolation, but are part of a chain. Employers of drivers can find it difficult to ensure
the safety of their employees whilst they are working at customer premises. And the competitive nature of the business makes haulage firms reluctant to make demands of their customers, who may wrongly assume that driver safety is not their responsibility.
For drivers of public transport vehicles, passengers are also part of the risk and of the solution. Other parties that need to be involved in risk management may include:
- the enterprises where goods are collected and deliveries are made;
- passengers and schoolchildren;
- road safety groups, transport ministries, police and the judiciary, etc.