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MORR™: Employers' intervention

Making MORR part of mainstream OS&H

Over the last 7 years, RoSPA has been actively involved in researching, campaigning and advising on the Management of Occupational Road Risk (MORR), pressing for this issue to be addressed as part of the mainstream health and safety (H&S) management and enforcement agenda.

An update on this work can be found here. It has been developed in consultation with RoSPA's National Occupational Safety and Health and National Road Safety Committees.

As part of its recently published (March 2000) Road Safety Strategy, the Government have highlighted the case for employers to do more to contribute to the reduction of work-related road traffic accidents. It has set up the independent Work-Related Road Safety Task Group (WRRSTG) - on which RoSPA is represented - which has just completed a three-month public discussion exercise and is now evaluating responses to this consultation.

Work-related road accidents: Facts and figures

When developing its guidance (March 1998) RoSPA estimated that, out of a total of some 3,500 road accident fatalities every year, between 800 and 1000 (25 - 30 per cent) were likely to be occurring in accidents involving vehicles being driven for work purposes. And according to TRL, company car drivers have nearly twice the accident liability of drivers in general. It is likely that more people are killed and seriously injured in 'at work' road accidents than in all other notifiable (RIDDOR) events put together.

Further evidence comes from the Health and Safety Executive's (HSE) survey of self reported work-related injury which has shown that there are some 77,000 injuries to employees every year as a result of 'at work' road accidents

Car and van drivers who cover 25,000 miles a year as part of their job are at virtually the same risk of being killed at work as construction.

There are approximately three million company owned vehicles in the UK at present. 66% of company cars are subject to an insurance claim every year. The cost of road accidents is enormous - research suggests that the real cost of a road accident could be between 4 and 32 times the `bent metal' cost, i.e., a minimum of £2,800. Government figures state the real cost of a fatal road accident to Society is in excess of £1 million.

Health and safety law: Future directions

The risks from work-related road traffic accidents have been largely ignored in health and safety law up to now. The primary law enforced on the road has been road traffic law. This is enforced by the police and not HSE and focuses on individual rather than corporate safety responsibilities. The WRRSTG are examining options for guidance to clarify the MORR duties of employers in occupational health and safety law, including their duties to establish safe systems of work on the road by assessing the risk of work-related road traffic accidents and introducing and monitoring appropriate risk control measures. The ultimate aim is to produce guidance which will show employers how to establish a risk management system to enable them to achieve a cycle of continuous occupational road safety improvement.

Building the evidence base

In order to build and develop the case for authoritative guidance on these lines evidence is needed, not only on levels of risk, harm and loss but on the effectiveness of employer interventions. To assist WRRSTG in building the case for guidance, RoSPA is seeking evidence from around the world on the results from monitoring by employers of the impact on fleet accident rates and costs of their MORR interventions. It is also undertaking an international comparisons review (there are lessons to be learned as other countries are similarly addressing this safety and health concern through various approaches) and a review of international research on the effectiveness of driver-training and other programmes in enhancing safety performance and reducing costs.

As part of this process therefore RoSPA is approaching a range of influential companies which are known to it, requesting any information which they may be willing to make available from analysis of their monitoring data in relation to success in reducing work-related road accidents. This includes, for example:

  • Accident and incident trends;
  • How performance is measured (accidents per driver, per vehicle, per mileage);
  • Costs (direct and indirect costs);
  • Reporting or investigation procedures;
  • Measures that have been taken to manage this risk, if any; and
  • What targets have been set for accident reduction, if any.

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