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The government-backed task group, asked to make recommendations to ...
The government-backed task group, asked to make recommendations to

ministers and the Health and Safety Commission (HSC) about how to

reduce the number of at work road traffic incidents, has begun to

tackle its challenging work.

The task group was set up to meet commitments given in the

government's Road Safety Strategy announced on 1 March 2000. It is

chaired by Richard Dykes, group managing director of the Post Office,

is looking at both work-related road journeys that expose workers and

others to risks from traffic; and other work-related activities

carried out on or near roads that expose pedestrian workers to


At its first meeting it has agreed the following priorities:

- establish the scale of the problem with better statistics

about work-related road traffic incidents, both in terms of

numbers and causes

- focus on ways to prevent such incidents

- propose minimum safety management standards for employers and


- recommend ways in which road traffic law and workplace health

and safety law, and its enforcement, can be better aligned to

investigate incidents and learn lessons from them

The group includes representatives from the police, traffic

commissioners, employers, workers, safety professionals, local

authorities, driving standards, passenger transport, motorcyclists,

freight transport, motorists and policy makers.

To meet the tight deadline of reporting back to ministers and HSC by

next summer, the task group has set up three sub-groups to look at

particular aspects of its work. Each will report back to the next

meeting of the main task group at the beginning of October.

Two of the sub-groups have already met: the first to review data on

work-related road traffic incidents and the second to develop

management standards and ways in which to marry laws on road traffic

and health and safety at work. The third group will meet at the end

of August to work out the details of wider consultation, including

the publication of a Discussion Document and arrangements for a

conference to be held in spring 2001.

Richard Dykes said: 'We had a very constructive first meeting. There

can be no doubt that work-related incidents contribute to deaths and

injury on the road. Our first steps must be to analyse the scale and

nature of the problem as fully as we can, then consider and propose

the most effective measures to deal with it.

'With the partners we have on the task group, I am sure we can work

together to develop practical solutions to the benefit of all road

users, employers and society as a whole and play our role in helping

to meet the government's target to reduce the number of road

casualties by 40 per cent over the next 10 years.'

Roger Bibbings, occupational safety adviser at the Royal Society for

the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) who has played a major role in

trying to improve at work road safety, said: 'I look forward to

working on this pressing issue and its promise of helping to reduce

work-related traffic deaths and injuries. There are already many

measures that employers could be taking to protect employees who have

to drive as part of their job. If they begin to address these

problems now, they will be better prepared for when the Task Group

makes its recommendations.'

The task group secretariat would be pleased to hear from anyone with

views on this issue. They can be telephoned on 020 7717

6841/6340/6509, faxed on 020 7717 6670 or e-mailed on


1. Estimates vary on the number of road incidents connected with

driving for work purposes. Some estimates suggest that this

could be as many as 300 deaths a year and many thousands of

serious injuries, resulting in considerable pain and suffering

to individuals and their relatives as well as high costs to

their employers and society.

2. As part of the government's commitment to improve road safety,

as outlined in its Strategy 'Tomorrow's Road - Safer for

Everyone,' Lord Whitty, minister responsible for both roads and

health and safety, has asked Richard Dykes, group managing

director of the Post Office, to head up a task group to make

recommendations to him and to the Health and Safety Commission

(HSC) on how to reduce these figures.

3. Membership of the task group comprises:

- Richard Dykes Group Managing Director, Post Office (Chairman)

- Richard Clifton, Head of Safety Policy Division A, HSE


- Michael Messinger, Commander Metropolitan Police

- David Strang, Assistant Chief Constable, Lothian and Borders

Police (ACPO - Scotland)

- Alastair Jefford, County Transport Operations Officer, Kent

CC, representing local authorities as highway authorities

- Rod Denley-Jones, Assistant Director of Environment, Turfaen

CBC, representing local authorities and health and safety enforcing authorities

- Paul Butler, Head of Policy, Driving Standards Agency

- David Dixon, Traffic Commissioner, Wales and West Midlands

- Steven Salmon, Operations Director, Confederation of Passenger

Transport UK

- John Lyons, Group Safety Adviser, British Telecom, representing

employer interests

- Ross Chadwick, Safety Adviser, Power Gen UK plc, representing

employer interests

- Graham Stevenson, National Organiser Transport & General

Workers Union representing workers' interests

- Tom Mellish, Policy Officer, TUC, representing workers'


- Roger Bibbings, Occupational Safety Adviser, RoSPA

- Robert Doughty, Chairman, the Despatch Association,

representing motorcycle couriers

- Don Armour, representing the interests of the freight transport


- John Lepine General Manager of the Motor Schools Association,

representing the Motorists' Forum

- Norman Swain, Head of Safety Unit, Field Operations

Directorate, HSE

- Roger Peal, Head of Road Safety Division, DETR

- Angela Moss, Head of Road Haulage Division DETR

- Alan Brown, Head of Road Safety, ScottishExecutive

- Meryl James, the National Assembly for Wales

4. The Terms of Reference for the group are to:

- establish (or signal what further work is required to

establish) accurate casualty and incident statistics for

work-related activities on or near roads;

- establish (or signal what further work is required to

establish) the main causes and methods of preventing

work-realted road traffic incidents;

- promote a public debate on best practice in relation to

preventing work-related road traffic incidents;

- agree minimum health and safety management standards for

employers, the self-employed and others for work-related

journeys and other work activities on the highway;

- propose if possible non-legislative mechanisms for dovetailing

road traffic law with health and safety at work law;

- propose mechanisms for effective liaison between those who

enforce road traffic law and those who enforce health and

safety at work law.

5. It has been government policy that health and safety at work

legislation should not be pursued where there is more specific and

detailed law enforced by another authority. HSE's policy has been

generally not to apply health and safety legislation to work-related

road journeys, road design etc as it considered the safety

implications of these matters were adequately protected by road

traffic law, and its enforcement. Following a review of this policy,

it was found that that was an enforcement gap in relation to

employers' duties to manage the road safety implications of some

work-related road journeys. HSE concluded that it wanted to do more

in this area of risk but in partnership with others.

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