Public transport operators should adopt proactive ways to prevent road tragedies, says Lee Lam Thye

KUALA LUMPUR: All public transport operators should adopt a proactive approach to managing occupational road risk and assist in preventing more tragedies on the roads, says Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye.

The Alliance for a Safe Community chairman said at a time when the relevant authorities are addressing with utmost seriousness the issue of road safety to reduce road accidents, injuries and fatalities, employers have a moral obligation to adopt a proactive approach to managing occupational road risk.

“Employers should do all that is reasonably practicable not only to ensure the road safety of their employees but also that of the passengers and the public.

“Employers must undertake to change the driving attitude and behaviour of their employees.

“They must ensure the use of safe vehicles, provide driver training to prevent road accidents while ensuring that drivers with bad records must be kept away from the wheels,” he said in a statement on Sunday (March 24).

Employers also have a duty to protect their employees and other road users by adopting the approach of managing road risk to control the very significant business losses which arise from ‘at work’ road accidents, including not only direct accident costs but lost staff time, higher insurance premiums and poor public image, he lamented.

“No business can afford to leave the safety performance of its vehicle fleet to chance as money and lives can be at stake.

“Every journey should be a managed journey, not something to be treated casually or left to chance.

“Unless an organisation has a planned approach towards managing occupational road risk and is monitoring what it is doing, more accidents will occur and more innocent lives will be lost on our roads,” he said.

Lee said resources which would otherwise be profitably utilised for the business will have to be expanded on dealing with the aftermath of accidents.

“The message is clear and that is manage your occupational road risk and make your business more profitable.

“Employers should always review the road safety standards of their organisations,” he said.

Companies which take action to promote occupational safety and prevent accidents will achieve major cost savings, improve their image and make a significant contribution to meeting road safety targets, Lee said.

“Employers who are concerned with the safety and well-being of their employees and the public can help to address the problem of tragic road accidents by means of the following:

• Establish a written policy requiring drivers and motorcyclists to undergo safe driving practices, proper use of vehicle safety features and mandatory refresher courses;

• Conduct driver’s licence background checks on prospective drivers before they are hired, particularly regarding drug offences;

• Ensure that drivers in their employ comply with designated speed limits on roadways and other traffic regulations.

• Ensure and establish written procedures in respect of proper maintenance of all vehicles owned by the employers.

• Establish schedules that allow drivers to obey speed limits and limit their hours of service according to regulations. Do not permit workers to drive while fatigued.

• Work towards the right behavioural and attitudinal change and develop a road safety culture.

Lee said the importance of adequate and proper safety training for employees should be emphasised.

“It is crucial that employers provide their staff with the necessary know-how for them to execute their jobs safely and efficiently.

“Besides employees, employers too stand to benefit from a safe working environment as it not only reduces loss of man-hours and cost but increases productivity and profitability as well as enhances the image of the company,” he said.