There's been a push from industry safety professionals to educate drivers on road health and safety – specifically targeting those who use the road as their workplace.
According to a study conducted by Safe Work Australia, the most likely workplace injury you're going to sustain is motor vehicle related – that includes going to and from work.
Thanks to a noticeable surge in ridesharing, food delivery and other delivery services, more cars are on the road for work purposes. In 2020, online retail sales were up 63 per cent, food delivery services escalated 12 per cent, while work-vehicle-related fatalities increased 12 per cent from 2018 to 2020.
It was the rapid increase in fleet that prompted parcel delivery service, CouriersPlease, to rework their driver safety program.
Phil Reid, COO and head of the driver safety program at CouriersPlease explains: "The driver safety program that we created was a trigger by increasing work that we had. We exponentially grew through 2020, so an 80 per cent increase year on year, and as a result we had to increase our fleet by fifty per cent, quite rapidly. We had safety processes in place but we looked for a way we could re-deliver it to the workforce."
The company engaged a number of long term franchisees to uncover hazards and risks they encountered on a daily basis, along with ways in which to deliver the message.
"By using this feedback along with the a company that helped us put the program together – delivering it on the scanners, the device they use every day, their life blood in their role – it's become a part of their everyday job. They turn up every morning, each week and get a new program to work through," Mr Reid said.
The feedback was positive with a huge 93 per cent engagement from the fleet – keeping in mind that the program wasn't mandatory.
Advanced driving instructor, Kevin Flynn from Driver Dynamics has also invested time and energy into educating drivers on road safety, noticing a rise particularly after the lockdowns.
"On our fleet safety program which is similar to our defensive driving course, we cover subjects such as safety features in a modern cars fatigue, drink driving, excessive speed – looking at the causes and what people can do in an event.
"Often people crash cars doing stuff that they know they shouldn't be doing – you know you're tired but you've still made the decision to push on an extra hour or so. We give them a good appreciation of how they would react and how their cars would perform," Mr Flynn said.
There are various tips that can be adopted to increase health and safety when spending ample time on the road. Here are some key steps to consider, as recommended by Phil Reid:
- Recognise signs of fatigue and ensure you're well rested
- Remove distractions and avoid multitasking
- Maintain COVID-safe practices and good general hygiene
- Adjust driving to different conditions
- Take care of your body by stretching, having breaks, and adjusting seats
- Be aware of risks when parking and stopping in unfamiliar locations
- Upkeep vehicles regularly