ARSRPE Conference Paper Database

Safety Ownership in the Australian Workplace and its Application to Road Safety

Banks, Tamara, Davey, Dr. Jeremy, Biggs, Herbert

Fleet Safety


Road safety within the community can be enhanced through improvements in work-related road safety. Recent research in the construction industry suggests that the success of safety initiatives within an organisation may be related to the level of ownership of safety management tasks by employees in safety critical positions. In accordance with the Workplace Health and Safety Act 1995, duties of care to workers and third parties are shared by everyone. Therefore ownership of work related road safety should be embraced by all members of an organisation. This qualitative study explored whether organisational differences in safety ownership related to safety practices and processes. Two organisations were recruited to participate in this research. Organisation A was a ?not-for-profit? service provider that operated a fleet in excess of 200 vehicles. Organisation B was a ?for profit? service provider that operated a fleet in excess of 2,000 vehicles. Data was collected via semi-structured interviews with both male and female employees from a range of roles and levels of seniority within each of the organisations and an audit of work related road safety practices and processes. It was identified that organisational practices and processes varied in relation to the position of the person primarily responsible for managing work related road safety and that greater sharing of ownership of safety responsibilities was associated with greater development of work related road safety practices and processes. This paper suggests that advances in road safety can be achieved through educating employees and managers about their Workplace Health and Safety responsibilities and through explicitly including road safety tasks in job descriptions.