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Every day, company drivers throughout the UK experience ‘near miss’ incidents that could just as easily have resulted in injury or death. Most experienced drivers just pass these incidents off as a routine part of the job. Yet is it possible that requiring company drivers to report such incidents could increase safety? The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) thinks so.

Companies are already required to report certain kinds of workplace incidents under the RIDDOR scheme. But those incidents do not include those involving company cars or trucks unless they also involve loading or unloading a vehicle or the transport of certain hazardous materials. HSE policy advisor Andrew Wetter thinks safety could be improved by voluntarily adopting a system such as RIDDOR for reporting near misses out on the road.

Also known as ‘dangerous occurrences’, a near miss is defined by the HSE as any “unplanned event which does not cause injury or damage, but could have done so.” Where company drivers are concerned, this could involve incidences including potential collisions, property damage resulting from dropped cargo, equipment damage related to adverse weather conditions, etc.

Wetter believes it is possible to implement an efficient incident reporting system that would help fleet managers identify patterns of potential hazards. Such patterns would also pave the way for making changes that would avoid such incidents in the future. Any such system could be designed to be anonymous so that drivers would not feel as if their jobs were in jeopardy as a result of incident reporting.

Cost-Benefit Question

We in the UK are very fond of data collection, statistical analysis, and developing regulations based on both. We tend to believe that more management is better than less, particularly in the area of workplace safety. It may be that the HSE guidance is spot on in terms of reducing workplace accidents through better reporting. But it could also be that their guidance does not pass the cost-benefit test.

Every new programme a company adopts has new costs attached to it. Whether that cost is material or not is irrelevant. Therefore, costs have to be weighed against potential benefits in order to justify them. The question before the HSE is whether its idea would reduce workplace accidents enough to warrant the cost of implementing such a programme.

Perhaps a good place to begin answering that question is by analysing the benefits of RIDDOR. How well does that programme work? And if it does work, can the same principles be applied to company drivers operating in an environment that is much less controlled than a warehouse or office? If RIDDOR is not paying off in tangible benefits, we must question why we continue using it.

At the HGV Training Centre, we cannot say one way or the other if company drivers reporting near misses would be of any real benefit. We can say that great training makes for great drivers. That is what we offer at all of our UK training centres.

Sources:

Fleet News UK – https://www.fleetnews.co.uk/news/fleet-industry-news/2015/10/06/reporting-near-misses-will-cut-risk-says-hse

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