This report presents a number of case studies in managing risks to road transport drivers. The cases feature a variety of initiatives and interventions to protect drivers.

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 in 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. 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, schoolchildren
  • road safety groups, transport ministries, police and the judiciary, etc.

Large employers are in a position to set OSH standards for their delivery contractors, which can stimulate these small businesses to adopt such standards when working with their other clients.

OSH solutions, e.g. safer driving measures, may require additional time to carry out. This must be taken into account both in work organisation and work scheduling. On the other hand, the introduction of defensive driving can result in lower fuel consumption and therefore cost savings.

Training, refresher training and ensuring that procedures are properly followed are very important for drivers, but they must be carried out in the framework of an organisational system aimed at preventing risks and with clear management commitment.

Whenever change takes place the OSH implications should be considered. For example, the introduction of information and communication technology in drivers’ cabins can be used to improve drivers’ safety and health as well.

Diversity in the workforce needs to be taken into account – for example, the needs of older and younger workers, women drivers and foreign workers should be considered.

In passenger transport various case studies deal with preventing violence to drivers, including violence from schoolchildren. Such violence can have a number of consequences: stress and injury to staff, physical damage to buses, and increased road accident risk. Involving children in the solution was seen to be important and measures taken in the cases included:

  • Partnership – with schools, crime prevention schemes, police, traffic authorities
  • Involving children, for example:
    • a prevention officer was appointed with outreach responsibilities, e.g. to work
      with schools
    • theatre performance was used with children to identify issues and solutions
    • children agreeing behaviour rules for bus travel and ‘policing’ the buses
    • joint training with drivers and children – to help gain a common understanding.
  • Taking a holistic approach, with schools involved in what happens both inside and
    outside the school gate
  • Intervention officers – assistants who work with ticket inspectors
  • Protective coatings to side windows, driver’s cabs separated from passengers, CCTV, tracking systems, radio links for rapid intervention
  • Post-incident legal support and counselling made available to staff.

The case studies demonstrate that a number of measures can be taken to control risks and improve safety for road transport drivers. These measures can also lead to an improved service for clients and passengers and financial savings for transport companies