We are currently undertaking our second project with the US Government research agency NIOSH, which is supporting the Health Communications Project: Promoting Global Initiatives for Occupational Road Safety.

The goal of the project is to demonstrate the injury reduction and economic benefit of workplace initiatives to prevent road traffic injuries among workers in the U.S. and globally, so that these approaches will be incorporated into ongoing global road safety initiatives. The project promotes the inclusion of workplace initiatives that highlight problems and solutions for working people into existing World Bank / WHO international initiatives on global road safety.

To achieve these goals, the project developed an electronic library of work-related road safety ‘good practices’; a ‘good practices’ white paper; a Global Occupational Road Safety Conference; a network of occupational road safety partners; and a NIOSH document on ‘international good practices practices’. These can be found by clicking here.

The project has also supported the following PhD:

Pratt, S. The Role of Institutional Structures, Interest Groups, and Framing in Explaining Occupational Road Safety Policy in the European Union and Member States: An Application of the Advocacy Coalition Framework and Multi-level Governance. West Virginia University, 2011. Click here.
Our first NIOSH project was a ‘Worldwide review of occupational road safety’, which had the following findings:

  • Where data on the extent of occupational road crashes is available, it accounts for a significant proportion of both road and workplace fatalities and injuries. This suggests that more attention should be given to the issue by both transport and occupational safety and health-based agencies.
  • Good quality ‘purpose of journey’ information should urgently be included in the road safety data collection processes in many participant countries to allow at-work crashes in smaller vehicles (such as cars and vans) to be identified, as well as those in larger vehicles. Based on recent experiences in the UK, this requires a detailed briefing and training program for the Police officers who collect the data at the front line.
  • Occupational safety and health (OSH) data includes on-road driving incidents in some countries, but not in others. There is a strong argument for OSH agencies to undertake more data capture, leadership and enforcement on occupational road safety, which appears to be one of the major at-work risks in many jurisdictions.
  • Other data sets, including workers compensation, insurance, coronial records and hospital admissions also hint at the scale of the problem, but there were no obvious data standards between participant countries.
  • Currently only limited data linkages exist, for example between road safety statistics and hospital admissions, or with health and safety or insurance data. Better linkages via common coding and interagency collaboration would enable a more complete picture to be obtained.
  • Governments themselves are one of the largest purchasers of vehicles in many regions around the world, and should be seen to lead by example in the effective and safe management of their own vehicles and drivers. Publishing highly detailed case study based program evaluations should be a key element of this process. At present there are many public and private sector programs, but few have been effectively evaluated and written up in a detailed way.
  • An important next step should be to organise an international conference on occupational road safety that brings together researchers, policy makers, key government agencies, industry practitioners and other stakeholders to agree definitions, share best practice and guide future actions including leadership on a larger collaborative project to be led by a well resourced research group to explore and compare the available data and processes around the world.

Overall, the extent of the occupational road safety problem identified suggests that focusing time and investment on the recommendations in this report would be a very good use of road safety, OSH and business improvement research and project management resources.