In just over a month, around 120,000 HR and Health & Safety professionals will be out in force in Birmingham at the Health and Safety Event. This is where the biggest work-place risk – driving for work – will be explored.

A third of all road collisions in Britain involves someone driving as part of their job. The Health and Safety at Work Act requires employers to take appropriate steps to ensure the health and safety of their employees and others who may be affected by their activities when at work. This applies when driving in the same way as it does in the workplace.

Visitors to the Driving for Better Business stand in the Driver Safety Zone can play a game with a serious message: how braking speeds are affected by loading, tyre and road conditions and how impairment from drugs, alcohol and fatigue alters reaction times and performance.

In the Driver Safety Theatre, industry leaders will share their knowledge and experience on a wide range of topics, including mental health, drug testing, fatigue, phone use and other distractions. A mock trial explores how and why an incident occurred and where fault lay; and a session on incident investigation looks at the legal ramifications on directors and senior managers if they fail to learn from these incidents.

Wednesday evening sees the inaugural presentation of the Best Driver Risk Management Performance award at the Safety & Health Excellence Awards, led by Nick Harris, CEO of National Highways. 

In a session in the Driver Safety Theatre, experts from the shortlisted entrants will each discuss their entry, the challenges they faced and the benefits realised from their different approaches.

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“Legal responsibility for driver safety sits at the top of the company in the same way that any other occupational health and safety issue does but, in addition to this, failure to manage it correctly is increasingly going to have an impact on a company’s ability to win new work,” says Simon Turner, Campaigns Manager for Driving for Better Business.

“The highways and rail sectors are now demanding contractors and suppliers demonstrate they have appropriate driver safety management systems in place – a positive trend that will certainly become more widespread.

“We are seeing continued growth in the number of commercial vehicles, especially vans. The safety of those vehicles and the people driving them – and the wellbeing of those drivers – is gaining ever more importance among employers who realise that good management of those who drive for work is critical, and that good safety management and efficient, high-performing companies go hand in hand.

“For those who manage driver safety and occupational road risk, there’s a lot to learn, and a lot to communicate to drivers. We’re here to share resources, provide support and encouragement and help find any gaps in current operations.”

He adds: “There is also a clear business case for managing work-related road risk and improving driver safety within your organisation. Fewer road incidents mean fewer days lost to injury; fewer repairs to vehicles with vehicles out of action; fewer missed orders and overall reduced running costs. Now is the time to become better informed and start getting the benefits of better practice.”

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