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Accident claim news 20/12/2006

Road-related accidents at work on the rise

Countless personal injuries are caused as a result of accidents at work and many more are sustained because of road accidents but a combination of these accidents is becomingly increasingly frequent in the UK, according to recent statistics.

March 2005 saw a decision for the police who attend vehicle accident scenes to keep official records of the number of work accidents which occur on British roads.

In support of this decision, Charles Davis, RoSPA's head of driver and fleet solutions said, "We think this will prove once and for all that this is the biggest work-related safety issue facing the country. If that is the case, serious consideration will have to be given to a Health and Safety at Work Act Approved Code of Practice on driving for work, so that companies understand they will face legal action if they don't meet their responsibilities. "

It seems that the occurrence of work accidents while driving is up there with construction accidents and that driving for a living is now one of the most dangerous professions. In fact, those who drive company cars or vans are almost 50% more likely to have a road accident than private vehicle drivers.

The Department of Transport's annual Road Casualties Great Britain 2005 statistics have shown that vehicles used for work were involved in around 150 road accidents every day that year.

Head of fleet safety, Jools Townsend, at national road safety charity Brake, has said:

"Road safety campaigners have suspected for many years that a large proportion of road crashes involve people driving for work. These figures demonstrate how important it is that, firstly the government takes corporate responsibility for at-work driving seriously and, secondly, all employers take the life-saving steps of educating employees on safe driving and effectively managing their road risk."

Despite rising accident at work incidence rates, work-related accidents are not being reported under RIDDOR. When challenged on this issue the HSE stated that it feels the police are better equipped to deal with these particular work accidents. Read more about RIDDOR.

GMB National Health and Safety Officer, John McClean, commented:

"At a time when the HSE claim that workplace deaths are at their lowest recorded level there is concern among GMB members, many of whom drive as part of their daily work, that not enough is being done to ensure that they and others are safe on our roads.

"Long hours of working drivers, a lack of regular breaks and unnecessarily tight deadlines all lead to dangerous driving conditions in many occupations. There is a need for the HSE to investigate all work-related deaths, including those on the road which are currently not part of the reporting regime."

It will remain to be seen whether the reporting of work-related accidents at work will continue to lie in the hands of the police or whether they will also have to be reported under RIDDOR. Whatever the long-term solution, it is clear that employers of people who drive for a living need to take the health, safety and welfare of their staff more seriously in order to avoid such accidents at work occurring and bring these shocking figures right down.