Academic research

 

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Work-related road safety- Project Report

Peer reviewed and published

Transport Research Laboratory
Shaun Helman BSc PhD, Graham B Grayson BSc PhD
IOSH

Road casualty statistics show that a large proportion of road casualties are accounted for by people who are in some way driving for work, so interventions to improve work-related road safety (WRRS) could have considerable potential as a means of reducing the total number of casualties. This project had two key aims. The primary aim was to carry out a systematic review of the published literature on the effectiveness of WRRS interventions. The second was to seek feedback and insights from various stakeholders in the WRRS field. Stakeholder feedback at the end of the project was in response to a summary of the literature review, and a number of themes emerged. By far the majority of respondents agreed with the conclusions of the review, and there was a general acceptance that methodological weaknesses are an issue in much of WRRS. A number of respondents agreed strongly that more controlled evaluations of WRRS interventions would be both useful and desirable. However, the difficulty of carrying out ‘scientific’ research in practical settings was noted by several stakeholders, given perceived commercial pressures for short-term results. Finally, the importance of leadership in WRRS was stressed by a number of stakeholders, who drew attention to the need for ‘top level buy-in’ to WRRS interventions.

Based on the review findings and the stakeholder feedback, a number of recommendations are made for the improvement of practice and research in WRRS. It is recognised that there are commercial and practical issues that remain to be overcome when trying to persuade industry to engage in evaluation studies, but the main conclusion of the project is that there is a pressing need for more and better-controlled evaluation work if a better understanding of WRRS issues is to be achieved.

Work-related road safety - Literature Review

Peer reviewed and published

Transport Research Laboratory
Shaun Helman BSc PhD, Graham B Grayson BSc PhD
IOSH

Road casualty statistics show that a large proportion of road casualties are accounted for by people who are in some way driving for work, so interventions to improve work-related road safety (WRRS) could have considerable potential. There are a number of different forms that interventions focused on WRRS can take. Although there are many providers of such interventions, there is a lack of understanding as to which interventions are most effective, and to what degree. A systematic review of the literature on WRRS has therefore been carried out in order to make an evidence-based appraisal of the effectiveness of WRRS interventions. Following extensive searches of the Transport Research Abstracting & Cataloguing System, a total of 63 studies are discussed in this report, including six earlier reviews dating from 1999 to 2011. The review covered six main areas: driver training, group discussions, incentive schemes, publicity, invehicle recorders, and organisational approaches. Although the study set out to provide evidencebased advice to practitioners, this proved to be a surprisingly difficult task. Only four interventions were found in studies of a scientifically acceptable standard that showed statistically meaningful reductions in crash risk. Three were in the same investigation, and all were conducted more than a decade ago. Possible reasons for this are discussed. These include changes in recent times in research and procedures from single to multiple interventions, the trend to using attitudinal and behavioural measures as dependent variables, and the increasing acceptance of case studies as evidence for positive change. While it is accepted that there are commercial and practical issues in trying to persuade industry to engage in evaluation studies, the main conclusion of the project is that there is a pressing need for more and better-controlled evaluation work if a better understanding of WRRS issues is to be achieved.

Talk the talk – walk the walk

Peer reviewed and published

Loughborough University
Alistair Cheyne BA MA PhD CPsychol, Ruth Hartley BSc MSc (School of Business and Economics)
Alistair Gibb BSc PhD CEng MICE MCIOB
Aoife Finneran BEng PhD MIES
(School of Civil and Building Engineering)
IOSH

The influence of health and safety programmes on the state of health and safety tend to be studied in single organisations. The London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games construction project provided a rare opportunity to investigate the impact of safety initiatives in a range of organisations working on the same site. To assess the impact of these initiatives, the research team carried out interviews with key personnel and focus groups, analysed paperwork and observed safety meetings. These measures revealed a client and project management system aimed at facilitating communication and safe practice. Collaborative communication was found, particularly in terms of contractors learning from each other and transferring knowledge across the Olympic Park project, as well as on subsequent projects. The research team identified numerous sources and channels of communication, some of which appeared novel, and it was possible to track safety messages through the various layers of management. While the impact of the initiatives on workers at the Olympic Park was complex, there is evidence that they changed their safety behaviour, and that they have maintained this on subsequent construction projects. The legacy of this research, in terms of good practice transfer to the construction industry in general, has yet to be seen. However, lessons learned, and good practice, are being transferred across contractor organisations, as well as to other organisations. If this transfer is supported using systems developed at the Olympic Park, there is much that the construction industry can learn from and apply.

Reliable industrial measurement of body...

Peer reviewed and published

Institute of Occupational Medicine
Dr Richard Graveling, Laura MacCalman, Hilary Cowie, Joanne Crawford and Phil George
IOSH

This study explored the potential use of infrared (IR) thermometry, measuring the temperature within the ear canal, as a relatively non-invasive indicator of the risk of heat stress in industrial applications. Measurements of body temperature using this technique, benchmarked against the intragastric (IG) temperature pill, were obtained from workplaces in the glass manufacturing and refractories sectors. Analysis of the more than 250 data pairs obtained showed that the variability in the IR temperature readings was too great for such measurements to be used to predict actual core temperature (as indicated by IG temperature). Further analysis initially suggested that it could be used as a monitoring or screening tool to ensure that core temperature was not exceeding a critical level. However, when the outcome was adjusted to reflect the inter-subject variability, the variance in the data set was too large to permit the core temperature to be predicted with sufficient confidence to allow it to be used, even as an initial measure to flag a need for more accurate measurement. There are indications from the literature that the make of measuring instrument used and the technique adopted in their use are important sources of variation. It remains to be seen whether refinements to the technique used, either in the manner of use or the circumstances of use, reduce this variance to a more satisfactory level.

Exploring health and safety...

Peer reviewed and published

University of Nottingham
Dr Stavroula Leka and Prof Sayeed Khan, Prof Amanda Griffiths
IOSH

This research explored current training needs among occupational safety and health (OSH) practitioners with regard to workplace health issues. In line with this primary aim, it aimed to identify occupational health issues that should be targeted through education and training schemes for OSH practitioners, explore the views of workplace health experts and members of the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH) on priority issues in workplace health, and identify priorities to be addressed through continuous professional development (CPD) programmes. The research was conducted in four stages that included interviews and a Delphi survey with experts in workplace health, as well as a survey of all members of IOSH undertaking CPD. There was overall agreement among the workplace health experts and OSH practitioners on the highest priorities for workplace health, namely common mental health problems and work-related stress. Further key areas included health surveillance and identification of emerging risks, musculoskeletal disorders, sickness absence, planning for major health-related scares and incidents, work-related driving, work life balance, engagement and advice of small and medium-sized enterprises, evaluation of health and safety interventions and immigrant/migrant populations. Experts and practitioners also agreed on the key knowledge and skills required for the future role of health and safety practitioners. It is recommended that CPD programmes target and aim to develop knowledge and skills in all key identified areas. The study participants were also asked for their preferred mode of training delivery. Results indicated a preference for a blend of e-learning and face-to-face workshops.

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