Protecting vulnerable road users: Can you put a price on life or reputation?

By Andy Brooke, CLOCS Programme Director

WITH nearly four times as many construction-related fatalities outside the hoarding compared to inside, it is clear there is still much work for our industry to do to reduce the risk to Vulnerable Road Users (VRUs). HGVs are disproportionately involved in collisions with VRUs, typically comprising around just 5% of urban traffic miles but involved in around 20% of pedestrian fatalities and a staggering 80% of cyclist fatalities.

A study commissioned by TfL in 2012 identified that there was a huge lack of awareness of this statistic across the industry and a number of contributory factors were identified, including inconsistency of road-safety standards across different areas and sectors, and a lack of collaboration between the different stakeholders involved in delivering a project. It was evident that a culture-shift was necessary to provide a clear focus on raising standards and, importantly, that this issue does not sit with any one party but that all stakeholders have a role to play.

Health and safety law requires that any construction work should be carried out, so far as is reasonably practicable, without risk to the health or safety of any person affected by the project; this includes those outside of the hoarding as well as those working on site. Employers need to manage risks to employees, sub-contractors and the community in which they operate.

Government action to improve air quality and promote active travel is resulting in more and more people travelling by foot and bike across the UK, both for commuting and leisure.

However, this coincides with an on-going government commitment to construction to boost the economy, and with construction activity set to increase, there will be more HGVs on our roads and in our communities.

The problem is going to grow if we don’t act now.

Construction Logistics and Community Safety (CLOCS) was formed to address the increasing and disproportionate problem of construction related fatalities and serious injuries caused by construction traffic. It brings contractors, fleet operators, clients and regulators together to work collaboratively to maximise the many commercial and social benefits associated with safe, green and efficient construction logistics.

> Eliminating risk of collisions that result in harm to VRUs,
> Improving air quality by driving down emissions,
> Improving efficiencies through smarter logistics planning,
> Reducing congestion and encouraging active travel,
> Delivering social value and improving community confidence,
> Reducing reputational risk.

The CLOCS Standard is a national industry standard that promotes good practice beyond basic legal compliance. It defines the primary requirements placed upon the key stakeholders associated with a construction project and places responsibilities and duties on the regulator, the client, the principal contractor controlling the construction site and the supply chain including the operator of any road-going vehicles servicing that project.

It may be time to ask whether your organisation is doing enough to reduce the risk to those you share the roads with.

Can you put a price on life or reputation?

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