Road crashes are not only the biggest killer of young people worldwide, they are also responsible for a significant share of workplace death and injury. If you run an organisation, it is almost certain that one of the greatest health and safety risks your staff will face will be their travel on the road. In Australia, for example, road crashes account for approximately 40% of all workplace road deaths.
What is often not reported or understood is the nature of road crash injuries. They include brain injury, quadraplegia, internal injuries, limb fractures and degloving just to name a few. They are lifelong injuries that impact the person, their family, their friends and their workplaces forever. There are typically 10-30 serious injuries for every fatality you hear about in the news or see in the statistics. You do not want this to happen to your staff or work colleagues.
When it comes to the road network it is an inherently unsafe workplace. High-speed undivided roads, unsafe roadsides, high-speed side-impact intersection risk or roads without sidewalks or safe crossings are just some of the high severity risks built into our road networks. As an organisation that cares for its staff and delivers for the economy, you can be a very powerful advocate for safer roads. Just as you want your office space to provide a safe work environment, you should be a positive voice working with the relevant authorities to ask for safer roads – and ultimately safe roads.
When your staff understand the risk on the roads, they are better prepared to take on their responsibilities for safe walking, riding or driving seriously.
iRAP is a UK registered charity and through our partner networks we assess the safety of roads all around the world. We measure the safety for you as a pedestrian, a cyclist, a motorcyclist or a vehicle occupant. One-star is the least safe and five-star the safest, and your risk of death and injury typically halves with each incremental improvement in star rating. Sadly, from a sample of roads we have assessed, 88% of travel for pedestrians is only one- or two-star standard and 44% of travel for vehicle occupants is in the lowest one- and two-star category. See www.vaccinesforroads.org for more details including the UN target for all new roads to be rated three-star or better for all road users that you can help advocate for.
How safe road attributes matter. Star ratings by road user type based on a 358,000km sample of roads across 54 countries. Source: iRAP
Risk mapping also provides a globally consistent methodology to present the crash performance of a road network. As an example, the Road Safety Foundation produces annual maps highlighting the persistently high-risk roads and celebrating the most improved roads. Similar maps are available in other countries (e.g. Australia and Spain). The World Health Organisation Global Status Report for Road Safety is also a great resource for fleet safety advocacy.
Both the star rating and the risk maps can provide a useful tool for you to understand the risk to your staff on the routes that they usually drive. Our Star Rating Demonstrator can be a useful tool to explore what makes a road unsafe with your staff. Not all roads are made equal and some roads are much safer than others. When your staff understand the risk on the roads, they are better prepared to take on their responsibilities for safe walking, riding or driving seriously.