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Vehicles in the workplace are the biggest killer in Ireland

by Eleonora Malacarne on Oct 3, 2019 8:02:00 AM

Vehicles in the workplace are the biggest killer in Ireland

According to figures recently released by the Health and Safety Authority of Ireland (HSA), vehicles are the leading cause of death in Irish workplaces.

The source of the aforementioned figures is the Authority’s 2018 Annual Report, showing that there were 39 work-related fatalities reported to the HSA in 2018, compared to 48 in 2017, a decline of 19%. But the single biggest danger last year came from vehicles in the workplace, with 17 lives lost across all industries last year.

The farming sector suffered 15 work-related deaths in 2018, compared to 25 in 2017, a decline of 40%, while construction had five work-related deaths.

Minister of State for Trade, Employment, Business, EU Digital Single Market and Data Protection, Pat Breen TD, said workplace deaths cause great trauma and personal suffering for families every year. While welcoming the decline in workplace fatalities, he said: “We should remember that any improvement in numbers provides little comfort to the family, friends and colleagues of the dozens of Irish people whose lives were cut short this year while doing their job.”

Dr Sharon McGuinness, Chief Executive Officer of the HSA, said that the fatality statistics show how vehicles are now the biggest threat to life in the Irish workplace. “Whether it’s a farmer driving a tractor in a yard, or a truck driver delivering a load, across all sectors, incidents involving vehicles accounted for almost half - or 44% - of all deaths last year. The worrying trend is continuing with six deaths provisionally recorded so far this year in the transportation sector” she said.

Tractors were involved in the majority of workplace vehicle incidents last year and claimed six lives but cars, refuse trucks and forklifts were also involved in fatalities.

Expressing concern at the devastation caused by work tragedies on bereaved families, Dr McGuinness urged everyone to be aware of the risks posed by moving vehicles in all workplaces. A change in mindset is required to reduce the numbers of workers dying or suffering serious injury as a result of workplace vehicles: complacency is costing lives.

“Drivers at work often forget about the same hazards that they look out for when driving on the road, like properly maintaining their vehicles, and paying attention to pedestrians when reversing. These checks could help prevent a fatal catastrophe to themselves or a work colleague,” Dr McGuinness concluded.

 

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Topics: Fleet Management, fleet safety, Health and Safety at work

Use of mobile phone behind the wheel: driver skips sanctions thanks to legal loophole

by Eleonora Malacarne on Sep 19, 2019 9:02:00 AM

Use of mobile phone behind the wheel driver skips sanctions thanks to legal loophole

There is still no clarity by the British government regarding the modification of part of the highway code dedicated to the use of mobile phones behind the wheel. The law has come under recent scrutiny in August after two sentences set a new precedent.

Ramsey Barreto had a conviction quashed for filming a crash on his mobile phone. The 51-year-old was prosecuted and found guilty after police saw him driving past an accident while using his phone to record a video. However, he had the conviction overturned at Isleworth Crown Court, last October, after his lawyers successfully argued that the law only banned the use of mobile phones to speak or communicate while behind the wheel. Publishing its decision last month, the High Court dismissed an appeal by the director of public prosecutions (DPP), agreeing with Barreto’s lawyers’ initial argument. The High Court Judge, Lady Justice Thirlwall, concluded with this statement: “The legislation does not prohibit all uses of a mobile phone held while driving. It prohibits driving while using a mobile phone or other device for calls and other interactive communication (and holding it at some stage during that process).” An incredibly literal interpretation of the law that placed doubt on what we could consider as irresponsible or unsafe driving or its opposite. However, the Judge made it clear “that you could still be prosecuted for driving without due care or dangerous driving, which carry potentially far higher punishments.”

The second case concerned Chief Constable Kerrin Wilson, who appeared at Nottingham Magistrates’ Court. It followed a crash involving a Mini Countryman and a Hyundai i30 that took place at 5.33pm on December 21, 2018 on Deepdale Lane in Nettleham. While Wilson was driving her Mini Countryman (which she’d only had for a week), she apparently got distracted with Bluetooth controls and when trying to make a call with her hands-free system, ending up drifting onto the wrong side of the road and crashing into the oncoming Hyundai i30. Wilson entered a guilty plea at the earliest opportunity when she was charged with driving without due care and attention; then was promptly refused entry when she turned up ten minutes late for a driver improvement course on June 17th, 2019. Chief Constable Wilson was given seven points on her license and fined a total of £1,460, including a £125 victim surcharge and £85 in court costs.

The law regulating the use of devices behind the wheel is now 16 years old. The two cases have brought up the necessity of putting a prohibition on any possible physical activity on a hands-free device, mobile phone, tablet or smartphone behind the wheel even if it does not include communicating. At the time of writing, the law still stays the same.

 

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Topics: fleet safety

When fleet safety is airport safety: ground handler fined for cutting in front of moving plane

by Eleonora Malacarne on Sep 17, 2019 9:03:00 AM

When fleet safety is airport safety ground handler fined for cutting in front of moving plane

The perception that airport ramps and runways are only occupied by aircraft servicing our travel requirements is obviously not the whole picture, as other aircraft and a multitude of motorized and non-motorized assets are manoeuvring at the same time according to specific timeframes to make air travel possible. And as such, airports are definitely not exempt from the need for safe driving—rules have equally to be respected in this environment or your licence can be revoked...

This is precisely what happened to a ground handler working for the company Saigon Ground Services at the airport of Tan Son Nhat in Vietnam. The news reported that a ground handler drove his vehicle onto the runway, forcing a Vietnam Airlines plane to make a sudden stop on August 19. The driver, whose name has not been made public, has been fined the equivalent of $172/€156 for not maintaining a safe distance from the plane on the runway. The Vietnam Airlines plane was forced to stop suddenly.

The incident was not the only near-miss to occur at the airport last month, as a driver of a mobile boarding ramp lost control on August 21 and hit an aircraft waiting to depart for Osaka, Japan. The collision caused a dent in the aircraft’s fuselage and postponed the flight for one day, with the aircraft now having been sent for repairs and checks. The driver, who has not been named, said the vehicle “suddenly shifted gears” and crashed into the plane.

When on the ground, aircrafts face far more risks from the various other agents operating in the shared airport space—not only other airplanes but fuel trucks, tugs, support vehicles, catering trucks, buildings, obstacles and so on. The ground area of an airport is a very busy place indeed… where the kind of unsafe practices just mentioned ought never to happen.

According to the whitepaper Solutions to the High Costs of Aircraft Ground Damage, occupational hazards, injuries and absences from the workplace result in multi-billion dollar costs close to $4B to the aviation industry and more specifically in the ground operations sector. In terms of aircraft ground damages, the $4B figure is closer to around $12B when the ancillary costs related to injuries, staff shortages, insurance-related costs to both employers and employees and other factors are taken into consideration.

If your ground handling organisation doesn’t want to be part of these statistics (and we assume that’s invariably the case), talk to us to see how to streamline your airport ground operations and run a safe airport fleet.

 

 

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Topics: fleet safety, Airport fleet management

Brake's Road Safety Week 2019 scheduled for November 18th to 24th

by Eleonora Malacarne on Aug 13, 2019 9:02:00 AM

Brakes Road Safety Week 2019 scheduled for November 18th to 24th

Brake's Road Safety Week 2019 has been scheduled for the days between November 18th and 24th, 2019, with registrations for employers opened at www.roadsafetyweek.org.uk/organisations.

The event, which has taken place for 22 years, is a great opportunity to promote life-saving messages and show commitment to road safety to employees and their families, customers, suppliers and local community.

The initiative, which this year has been particularly promoted by the Department for Transport, is encouraging  support to the Global Fleet Champions scheme, which aims to prevent crashes and reduce pollution caused by vehicles used for work purposes, but also wishes to animate employers to take the lead in promoting safe and healthy journeys through policies and procedures in place that maximise road safety, reducing risk.

Employers can reigster for a free action pack to help them promote road and driver safety, including advice, ideas and resources linked to the 2019 theme "Step up for Safe Streets", such as guidance sheets, facts sheets, infographics and interactive tools for both adults and children.

According to Brake's Community Engagement Manager, Dave Nichols, “With far too many people still being killed and seriously injured on our roads, this Road Safety Week we want everyone to “Step up for Safe Streets” and learn about, shout about and celebrate the amazing design-led solutions that can help us end this suffering and create a safe and healthy future for all."

Employers can really take the lead on safe and healthy journeys and help get these vital messages out to drivers, families and young people, making a big difference to their local community."

The first event is going to take place on September 10th: the webinar scheduled will host companies that have previously taken part in Road Safety Week, that will contribute with ideas on running successful activities and communication campaigns in organisations and communities dealing with road safety and vehicle management.

 

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Topics: Road Safety, News, Stats & Facts, fleet safety

DfT’s new safety action plan to reduce the number of injured and killed on UK roads

by Eleonora Malacarne on Jul 25, 2019 9:05:00 AM

DfT’s new safety action plan to reduce the number of injured and killed on UK roads

The UK’s Department for Transport has recently presented its new action plan to reduce the number of people killed and injured on UK roads.

The actions target different categories of drivers: fleet drivers, end users, young and old drivers and children, and actually focus on the essentials of road safety:

#1 – Use of seat belts. According to the CDC, seat belts reduce the risk of death by 45%, and cut the risk of serious injury by 50%. Seat belts prevent drivers and passengers from being ejected during a crash. People not wearing a seat belt are 30 times more likely to be ejected from a vehicle during a crash. According to ETSC sources, despite wearing rates of 98.6% for British car drivers, 27% of those who died in cars on the roads in 2017 were not wearing a seatbelt. These and other interesting figures have been published in the recent report “Seat Belts: the forgotten road safety priority”.

The new safety action plan will launch an initiative to increase the use of seat belts. Under the driver safety action plan, failure to wear a seatbelt could result in penalty points as well as fines, under new plans to reduce the number of deaths on the UK’s roads. This is one of 74 actions being considered to improve road safety.

#2 – Drink driving. Other measures under consideration include the use of ‘alcolocks’—devices which measure the alcohol in a driver’s breath and stop a vehicle from starting if the level is too high. The DfT has apparently invested in the development of roadside breathalysers too, which once finished, will enable suspected drink drivers to be tested directly at the roadside, without having to go back to the police station.

#3 – Incident data reporting via app. Part of the two year program taking place to see what works best in terms of strategies and enforcements, so as to maximise road safety at all times, consists in identifying gaps or improvement opportunities. In order to make sure this won’t be an additional burden on local police forces, DfT has rolled out a new version of the Collision Reporting and Sharing software and provided a smartphone app for existing police mobile devices. The app enables officers to accurately report crash data and locations on site, rather than having to return to a police station to duplicate paperwork on a computer.

According to Minister Michael Ellis, “This review will not only highlight where police forces are doing good work, it will show what more can be done to improve road safety.”

 

 

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Topics: Road Safety, News, Stats & Facts, fleet safety

Impaired driving summer crackdown: drink driving and drug driving in the crosshairs

by Eleonora Malacarne on Jun 6, 2019 9:03:00 AM

Impaired driving summer crackdown: drink driving and drug driving in the crosshairs

A drink driving crackdown this summer has kicked off in the UK this June as it can be a bad month for such offenses: according to data by AlcoSense Laboratories and shared by Fleet News, 1 in 10 motorists tested positive in June 2017 during a similar operation carried out in England and Wales, when around 36,000 drivers were tested (average number tested per month is around 24,000, excluding the Christmas period).

Statistics indicate a spike in drink driving during the month of June that coincides with warmer weather—motorists seem more inclined to drink drive and place themselves at risk during this period. Of the drink driving convictions recorded in June 2017, 17.8% of them fall under the definition of ‘morning after’. The record for most stopped belongs to Merseyside (3010 breathalysed drivers) and the number of people killed in road accidents where the driver was over the drink drive limit has risen by an alarming 45% in only two years. Figures released by the Department for Transport in February suggested there were 290 such deaths in 2017, compared with 200 in 2015.

As for impaired driving, in Ireland the RSA is continuing the drug driving awareness campaign launched in 2017 (as driving under the influence of drugs has been a statutory offence since 1961, but it was not until April 2017 that an effective drug testing method was introduced roadside and in Garda stations), focussing particularly on the beginning of June (and on the bank holiday weekend just gone). The Irish Medical Bureau of Road Safety has reported a rise of approximately 43% in the number of blood and urine specimens received for alcohol and drugs testing in the first four months of the year when compared to the same period in 2018. Data shared by An Garda Síochána show that the number of arrests for ‘Driving Under the Influence’ (DUI), which includes alcohol or drugs or a combination of both, is up 15%. There were 2,694 arrests for DUI from Jan-April 2019, versus 2,343 for Jan-April 2018.

Impaired driving has been detected as the cause of more than half of all car crashes. This means operating a motor vehicle while you are affected by alcohol, drugs (legal or illegal), drowsiness and sleepiness, distractions or relevant medical conditions. All of these are killer behaviours that can pose serious risks for you, your drivers, your company and other road users.

 

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Topics: Road Safety, News, Stats & Facts, fleet safety

Ireland celebrates Slow Down Day, but drivers are caught 50% over speed limit

by Eleonora Malacarne on May 28, 2019 9:02:00 AM

Ireland celebrates Slow Down Day, but drivers are caught 50 over speed limit

An Garda Síochána launched the annual 'National Slow Down Day' for a 24 hour period from 07.00 am on Friday 24th May to 07.00 am on Saturday 25th May 2019. The event is intended to reduce the number of speed related collisions, save lives and reduce injuries on the roads.

In terms of road safety, 2018 was the lowest on record with 146 road deaths; however, that doesn’t automatically mean there is no room for improvement. The trend has in fact altered in 2019 according to the data analysed so far. There was a 46% increase in the number of drivers detected speeding on the roads in the first three months of this year, compared to the same period last year. More than 36,000 people have been caught speeding between January and March 2019.

According to the first reports released last Saturday, four drivers who were caught speeding during the initiative (and despite it) were travelling more than 50% above the speed limit. In total, An Garda Síochána and GoSafe had checked 195,768 vehicles and detected 304 travelling in excess of the speed limit on the Saturday.

Excessive and unsuitable speed is a primary cause of road traffic accidents. This is borne out by an RSA report on fatal accidents between 2008 and 2012, which confirmed that excessive speed was a major factor in almost one third of all fatalities during the period. 

The greater the speed, the higher probability of an accident and, as you might expect, the more serious the resulting damage. As a general rule, a 1% reduction in average speed will bring about a 4% reduction in fatal collisions; and this is why reducing drivers’ speed for both commercial and other road users is essential to improving road safety.

If you need to get started with speeding prevention and want to promote safe, better driving within your fleet, contact us.

 

 

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Topics: Road Safety, News, Stats & Facts, fleet safety

Road Safety Week 2019: #speakup is the hashtag of the 5th edition

by Eleonora Malacarne on May 14, 2019 9:04:00 AM

Road Safety Week 2019 speakup is the hashtag of the 5th edition

The United Nations Global Road Safety Week initiative took place last week from May 6th to May 12th for the fifth consecutive year. The Road Safety Week has been an opportunity for the fleet industry and fleet operators to encourage all drivers and riders to consider the risks they face and pose on their daily journeys, and to find ways of reducing those risks.

The main point of interest in the latest Road Safety Week event was the hashtag #speakup. Road users have been encouraged to follow a four-step process, focussing first of all on assessing their journeys in order to find out which part of them they consider particularly unsafe; then in the second step they would take note of their road safety demands referring to the assessment of their journeys, and the third step would consist in presenting their concerns to the relevant decision makers in order to implement a practical solution. As a fourth step, the committee of the Road Safety Week 2019 encouraged participants to showcase their work and commitment towards the cause.

Road Safety Week 2019 speakup is the hashtag of the 5th edition_2

Among the subjects highlighted during the Road Safety Week were speed management, the need for leadership on road safety, improvements in the design of infrastructure, vehicle safety standard regulations, enforcement of traffic laws and the development of emergency care systems post-crash.

A survey conducted by Venson in the UK and published by Fleet News during the Road Safety Week showed that four fifths of the respondents (81%) believe that all reckless drivers —regardless of their offence—should lose their licence and be made to retake their tests.

According to the results of the research, strong leadership and actions from the government are what’s required (exactly what the road safety week has been focussing on this year): 81% of those interviewed called for an immediate licence ban, 80% appealed for the introduction of harsher fines and 74% said they would like to see the maximum penalty increased for careless driving that resulted in a fatality.

Among the other results, 25% of respondents defined driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs (including prescription medication) as the most reckless driving offence. Second was speeding (24%), while distracted driving, such as using a mobile phone or eating at the wheel, was third at 12%.

 

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Topics: Road Safety, fleet safety

Vehicle safety technologies: 30 new items to be mandatory in newly manufactured vehicles

by Eleonora Malacarne on May 7, 2019 9:04:00 AM

Vehicle safety technologies: 30 new items to be mandatory in newly manufactured vehicles

Starting from 16 April 2019, new rules governing advanced vehicle safety are to be incorporated into the technology of manufactured vehicles as a legal requirement for the EU market. The rules need to be given the go-ahead from the EU Council in order to come into effect from May 2022 for new models and May 2024 for those models already in use.

The new vehicles will be fitted with roughly 30 life-saving technologies. Some examples are listed below:

  • Intelligent speed assistance to make a driver aware when exceeding the speed limit
  • Driver drowsiness and attention warning
  • Advanced driver distraction warning to help keep attention on the traffic situation
  • Emergency stop signal in the form of a light, signalling road users behind the vehicle that the driver is braking suddenly
  • Reversing detection system to avoid collisions with people and objects behind the vehicle, with the help of a camera or a monitor
  • Tyre pressure monitoring system warning the driver when a loss of pressure occurs
  • Alcohol interlock installation facilitation allowing aftermarket alcohol interlock devices to be fitted
  • Event data recorder to register relevant data shortly before, during, and immediately after a road accident

There will be some safety innovations for passenger cars and LCVs which will be obliged to adopt some of the safety features that are already in place for buses and lorries such as an emergency braking system and an emergency lane-keeping system.

As for buses and trucks, the new safety features earmarked for them are quite sophisticated: direct vision features, for example, enable the driver to more easily spot vulnerable road users; there are also systems to help detect pedestrians and cyclists in close proximity to the vehicle.

The statistical projections behind this dramatic overhaul of vehicle safety are quite compelling: the new technology could prevent more than 25,000 fatalities and 140,000 serious injuries leading up to 2038. One statistic is especially convincing: human error accounts for 95% of all road traffic accidents.

The EU has made public an infographic highlighting the statistical breakdown of road fatalities by country:

Vehicle safety technologies: 30 new items to be mandatory in newly manufactured vehicles

It clearly demonstrates that thousands of people are killed or severely injured every year on EU highways. But it also demonstrates that from 2001-2007 technological safety advances and social attitudes reduced road fatalities by 57.5%. Unfortunately, the figures also indicate that this pronounced reduction in road deaths is slowing. Sadly, Bulgaria, Croatia and Romania did not have a good road safety record in 2017, while Sweden, the Netherlands and the UK were the safest countries for that year.



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Topics: Road Safety, fleet safety

International Worker’s Memorial Day 2019: safety in the workplace and on the road

by Eleonora Malacarne on Apr 30, 2019 9:06:00 AM

Memorial_Day_Logo

Last Sunday was Worker’s Memorial Day for 2019: Workers’ Memorial Day is an international occasion that is commemorated on the 28th of April every year. All over the world workers and their representatives hold events, demonstrations and a whole host of other activities to commemorate the day.

According to the TUC (Trades Union Congress), “Every year more people are killed at work than in wars. Most don’t die of mystery ailments, or in tragic ‘accidents’. They die because an employer decided their safety just wasn’t that important a priority. Workers’ Memorial Day (WMD) commemorates those workers.”

This is why a special day is set aside in the calendar year (April 28th is the anniversary of the date the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 went into effect), so that everybody concerned with health and safety at work—trade unions, employer groups and individual organisations across the world—can remember all those souls who were injured or have died in work related incidents.

With driving being one of the riskiest work activities, the event has taken on particular importance for drivers and fleets. It represents an opportunity to, in the words of the commemoration’s motto, “Remember the dead: fight for the living” and unions have been asked to not only reflect upon all those killed at work but also consider how to ensure such tragedies are not repeated. That can best be done by building strong trade union organisations, and campaigning for stricter enforcement with higher penalties for breaches of health & safety laws. Events have been organised in Ireland bearing the slogan, “Remembering the past for a safe and healthy future!” and also in the UK to tackle workers’ health and safety.

“Work is to earn a living,” said Esther Lynch, ETUC Confederal Secretary, “not cause death”. On work-related road deaths and suicides, Lynch added, “We know that a large proportion of road deaths are work-related, and with the digital economy there is an increase of people delivering goods by road. We need those platforms who create the conditions to be responsible and take actions to protect workers and prevent work-related road deaths.”

 

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