Collaboration key to improving workplace road safety

The establishment of an industry-led program to help more Australian businesses share knowledge about how to improve road safety in the workplace could reduce deaths and serious injuries on our roads, according to the National Transport Commission (NTC).

NTC’s National Road Safety Partnership Program draft strategy, released recently for public consultation, responds to a key action in the National Road Safety Strategy 2011-2020 agreed on by transport ministers in 2011. The strategy recognises the major role that industry can play in improving road safety in Australia.

NTC project director, Dr Jeff Potter, said that work-related road crashes in Australia currently account for about 50 percent of all occupational fatalities and 15 percent of national road deaths. 

“We believe there is a significant opportunity to facilitate knowledge sharing about how to improve road safety in the workplace and to provide recognition for those businesses that do the right thing,” Potter said.

The draft strategy highlights that for many businesses, driving or operating vehicles and commuting to work are the greatest safety risks for their employees.

“Our research has found that many Australian businesses already have a positive road safety culture which not only benefits the community but their bottom line as well,” he added. “We’ve found that these businesses are eager to share their knowledge and processes, and even act as a mentor for other businesses, so that others can replicate their approaches and improve road safety.”

The NTC has facilitated the establishment of a steering committee, comprised of senior business representatives, to guide the development of the proposed program.

“This is an example of how road safety outcomes can be achieved through a collaborative, non-regulatory approach to reform, Potter continued. “We’d like to hear from businesses of all sizes as to whether the proposed program framework would meet their needs and hear their ideas on how to encourage more organisations to implement road safety initiatives.”

The draft strategy is open for comment until October 18, 2012, and can be downloaded via the NTC website at www.ntc.gov.au.

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