The EU Strategic Framework for Safety and Health at Work highlights that every year more than 4,000 people die due to a work accident while more than 3 million have to deal with the consequences of serious injuries for their entire life.

Road accidents are the leading cause of death and serious injuries at workplaces or when travelling to and from work. Although the recording of work-related road accidents is not performed systematically in all EU countries, it is estimated that 40% – 60% of employees’ deaths are due to road accidents, while the risk for young employees (18-24 years old) is 2.5 times greater than for those aged 25-50 years (European Commission, 2015).

The road safety of employees also concerns employers!

Road accidents and – even more – occupational fatalities or serious injuries have significant consequences for a company.

Research in the United Kingdom estimates that for every £1 recovered through insurance there are £8-53 in uninsured losses related to:

  • The loss of work resources
  • The coverage of expenses related to the accident
  • The repair or replacement of corporate vehicles
  • Insurance fees or claims
  • Legal support
  • The possible prosecution for negligence
  • The impact on the company’s reputation.

In Greece, in 2017, 1,098 (22.2%) out of 4,954 recorded occupational accidents were classified as road accidents. The majority (56%) happened while the employee was travelling to or from work.

The largest number of occupational road accidents concern companies providing food services, postal and courier services and also trading of vehicles and motorcycles

Distributors / couriers, craftsmen / assemblers, refuse collectors, salesman and data or materials recording employees are the professionals most frequently involved in occupational road accidents.

The Occupational Road Safety Alliance estimates that 25% – 30% of road fatalities involve people travelling for work purposes.

This estimate takes reasonably into account the fact that work is one of the main reasons for people’s movement and thus for exposing them to road transport risks.

Main risk factors

Road environment: The design and maintenance of the road network usually falls under the responsibility of public authorities. However private companies should be responsible for considering the condition and safety capacity of the network during the fleet routing operations. Moreover, they should consider road safety e.g. for the facilities’ siting and design, the design and operation of the parking areas or other private areas to/from or in which traffic flows are expected to be increased.

Fleet condition: The safety characteristics and condition of the corporate fleet have significant impact on the corporate road safety outcomes. Research shows that the use of company vehicles of low safety standards (e.g. having a low EuroNCAP score) and mainly with poor maintenance significantly increases the probability of a fatal or serious road accident. Investing in modern fleet monitoring and management technologies (e.g. electronic tachographs, alcohol interlock systems, fleet telematics) can significantly reduce accidents and the resulting costs for a business.

Fatigue and time pressure: Studies show that for professional drivers, fatigue and time pressure are among the most common causes of road accidents. Both employees and employers should have the responsibility to ensure that, in every trip, drivers are in a good mental and physical condition.

Speeding: Speeding is considered as one of the main causes of fatal and serious road accidents. Research shows that company car drivers (both professionals or private) tend to drive faster and not to comply with speed limits more frequently than other drivers. This risky behaviour becomes worse as the daily driving distance and time travel increases.

An extensive study of work-related road accidents in the UK showed that:

  • For company car drivers, the main causes of accidents were: slippery road surface, driving under the influence of alcohol and speeding
  • For truck/heavy vehicle drivers, the main causes were: not keeping safe distances, fatigue/illness and loading/unloading operations.
  • For bus drivers, the main causes were: not keeping safe distances safe distances and traffic signs violation.
  • For emergency vehicle drivers the main causes of accidents were: time pressure and speeding.

Directions for improvement

  • 1

    “Road Safety for Managers” Training Program

    Understand why it's important and how much it can reduce costs for your business. Learn how to assess and improve the behaviour of your drivers, how to assess the condition of your company vehicles and effectively manage road risks for the benefit of your employees, your company and the society. See the Online Programs for business executives and corporate fleet managers offered by Make Roads Safe Hellas in collaboration with EASST and the National Technical University of Athens.

  • 2

    Development of an Integrated Road Safety Management System

    The ISO 39001:2012 standard was developed by the International Organization for Standardization and was finally issued in 2012 with the aim of supporting private and public organizations to (1) better recognize the road safety problem, and (2) Contribute to its treatment by developing and maintaining a Road Safety Management System that aims to continuously improve the road safety outcomes. See how our expertise can help you develop an effective Management System and improve the reputation of your business to your employees, customers, and partners.