December 2016 Newsletter

ScORSA St Andrew's Seminar 2016 - Evaluation

We would like to thank all those who attended the ScORSA St Andrew’s Seminar held at COSLA Centre, Edinburgh on 1st December 2016.

With 79 delegates attending on the day it proved yet again to be a very successful event with some excellent debate taking place around the presentations and also throughout the afternoon webinar session. The participants also took advantage of a tremendous networking opportunity and learnt more about:

  • Traffic, Road and Fleet Safety - Glasgow Bin Lorry case study – George Cairns (Glasgow City Council) and Inspector Darren Faulds (Police Scotland)
  • Fair Work and Road Safety - Ian Tasker - Scottish Trades Union Congress - STUC
  • Dealing with Issues - Robert Atkinson - Health Working Lives - HWL
  • Fitness for driving - Dr. Alastair Leckie - NHS Lothian

The anonymous online feedback was provided by 31 respondents. It showed that all respondents found the seminar, its organisation, the event programme, moderator, professional interest and relevance satisfactory, good or very good. Only 1 respondent marked the welcome and registration, catering, speaker presentations and networking opportunity as poor.
The majority of comments received from delegates were good, showing the delegates benefited from the range of different perspectives from speakers on road safety, networking, updated information, availability of resources, MORR, fitness for work, among others.

The videos and presentations of the seminar can be accessed by members at ScORSA website. For those wishing to join, please fill in the joining questionnaire.

St Andrew’s Seminar - Dealing with Issues

The recent SCORSA Seminar focused on driver health and the audience was introduced to the Scottish Plan for Action on Safety and Health (SPlASH). One of the actions in the plan is to develop an intervention for managers in smaller businesses, to help them understand the issues surrounding the importance of driver health, to help them engage their staff in the issues and to help offer support in their workplaces. In short, a brief intervention toolkit on driver health at work.

In addition to presentations, the audience was asked to contribute their extensive knowledge of driving for work to help shape the topics to be covered in the toolkit. Groups of delegates where asked a series of questions and given only a short time to really focus and agree on answers. This helped to narrow down the real issues for businesses and the answers will be analysed to help shape the work into 2017.

A Snap-shot of the responses to a number of the key questions are summarised below. We have also received nominations from volunteers who are prepared to help shape the work and pilot it within their organisations in the coming months.

Among the questions asked of the groups were:

1. Do you have current policies procedures relating to driving for work? And is it Stand alone or part of H&S policy etc?

The over whelming majority of delegates had a policy that covered driving for work, there was a mix of stand-alone policies and in other cases this was included in the arrangements for the overarching health and safety policy.

2. What are the key health issues that impact on your drivers at work?

Groups were asked to give their top 5 issues. There turned out to be a vast array of conditions to try and refine these down to five – the most frequently referred to were:

  • Stress and anxiety, the top mentioned condition, relating to home issues, stress “of the road” and time limits from the work schedule and pressure to deliver on time. This was presented as both the culture in some workplaces and effects felt by individual drivers
  • Fatigue
  • Age of driver and ongoing conditions associated with aging
  • Health conditions being managed, again there was a variety but Diabetes and Epilepsy were commonly mentioned
  • Alcohol, drugs prescription or illegal

While these were the top five mentioned, it is also worth noting concerns raised under this question relating to incomplete driver health and licence checks and disclosures, and drivers continuing to drive under these circumstances.

3. What impacts these conditions have on your workplaces and again looked for the top five issues these conditions create?

This question created the widest ranging answers. At one end, all the usual financial and reputational risks to the organisations were identified.

Specifics included:

  1. The cost and risk to organisations of using inexperienced temp drivers who do not know the routes and the checks on agency drivers may be less stringent.
  2. Increased workload on other drivers adding to stress and strain and leading to more reported RTAs.
  3. Re routeing and rescheduling due to sickness absence also added stress to non driving workmates.
  4. Time taken to induct temps and new starts was also cited as adding to pressure, there is a risk of corners being cut to keep the job going.
  5. Dealing with staff absence – everything from staff not contacting their managers to provision of additional medicals and Occupational Health checks for individuals. This was a big area all round.

We then progressed to a discussion on how well equipped managers were to deal with health issues and the barriers to intervening.

4. Are your mangers equipped to intervene when they suspect there is an immediate health issue?

The answers were varied; the most strongly voiced opinion was “not really”. It was recognised that this is all about leadership and autonomy to act. Many managers were unsure of their position and the support they would get internally if they started to deal with health issues. Training was a key issue, but often reported as lacking. Some reported that there was no management direction or clear responsibility to address driver health issues and it was left to the individual to determine if they intervened. Managers were worried about the consequences of intervening and also about the consequences of not intervening. There is a lot of work required here to support managers to have the skill sets necessary to be the leaders needed in this area.

On a real plus side, when asked about how organisations actively engage staff and managers in health discussions or events focusing on driving risk, there were a lot of positive comments about workplaces seeing the value in engaging their staff in health.

This has a long term impact of workers lives both in work and at home. Key activities reported were formal training sessions, workplace health interventions on a range of health issues including alcohol and drug awareness, healthy eating sessions and health checks for workers. A request made was to consider focus groups for managers and staff to talk about the impact of driving including health issues and organisations seeking advice on how to do this. Companies also acknowledged the use of freebies to raise awareness among drivers.

5. How long could a line manger reasonably devote to a one to one discussion if they suspect or are approached about a health issue?

There were fewer responses here, and those who did responded positively stating that, depending on the health issue, managers could devote as much time as they require. They acknowledge the need to understand the problem before making a decision or taking action and this is on a case by case basis. It also highlighted the need to consider driving duties as part of a return to work interview and the opportunities for managers to be able to refer to a specialist or get specialist occupational health advice if required.

Looking ahead to the development of a tool to help managers and staff, we asked about the support that managers could most use in the workplace. The key answers were, managers needed to work shadow to actually understand the work their driver carried out. That knowing what questions to ask of a staff member to help identify the problem would be very beneficial and having a reference resource to help them do this would make life much easier for all involved. Another area highlighted was honesty and integrity on sides, (driver and manager) this comes from a clear understanding of the risk involved, and the opportunity to be open and honest without fear of retribution. Many male workers are much more reluctant to talk about their own health and this is even more the case in a workplace during a conversation between managers and drivers. So a key message is - don’t expect this to be sorted quickly, it will take commitment from all involved to change working practices to an open, supportive and transparent workplace.

6. What would be the most useful thing we can provide to help you manage these issues at work?

The responses that will help us build a useful tool for workplaces highlighted the need for a resource to support managers; provide tick/check sheets in plain English with pictograms and no jargon. Ideally available electronically, perhaps in App form with accurate links to more detailed information so that managers can research information in more detail if required.

The SCORSA seminar was only the first step on this journey and Healthy Working Lives will be working with SCORSA members, volunteer organisations and Glasgow City Council to build a resource that will be freely available to all.

If you would like to become more involved in this development process by sharing your knowledge and experience, acting as a pilot site to test the tools developed or as an ambassador to roll out the tools once they are complete, please contact SCORSA at or alternatively, contact Healthy Working Lives on 0800 19 2211.

Courses and Workshops

SQA Road Safety

This qualification, unique at this level in UK, will provide everyone coming into road safety with the same basic grounding in road safety knowledge, information and resources. There is also the potential for these courses to be delivered within approved establishments across UK. The course is designed for candidates with a professional or personal interest or involvement in road casualty reduction in UK.

For more information, visit Scottish Road Safety website.

Driver / Journey

Get ready for winter

Driving in the winter is very different than in other times of the year. Adverse weather and longer periods of darkness (especially at winter time) makes driving more hazardous. Sometimes conditions can be extreme, as we have found out over the last two winters in particular, with prolonged periods of heavy snow and floods.

This means that we need to adapt the way we drive.

We all know that there are regular checks we should make to our cars; but how many of us know exactly what they are and how to do them? Not to mention whether they are done regularly at all.

But a few minutes spent making a few simple checks can identify potential problems before they cost motorists money. Plus, there’s the peace of mind that your vehicle is reliable and safe.

Driving in fog and strong wind conditions

Different weather conditions create different hazards throughout the winter and in different areas of the country at different times. A single journey may take us into very different weather, road and traffic conditions, so we need to be prepared for each one.
You should avoid driving in fog unless your journey is absolutely necessary.

If you must drive:

  • Follow weather forecasts and general advice to drivers in the local and national media.
  • Allow plenty of extra time for your journey.
  • Check your car before you set off. Make sure everything is in good working order, especially the lights.
  • Clean your windows and windscreen and ensure all your lights are working. Clean the inside of the screen as well as it helps prevent it misting up.
  • Switch the heater or air conditioning on and leave it running to keep the inside of the glass clear. Never leave the vehicle running unattended.
  • Use your windscreen wipers on an intermittent setting to keep the screen clear.
  • When you’re ready to leave, switch on the dipped headlights. Use fog lights if visibility is less than 100 metres, but don’t forget to switch them off when visibility improves.
  • Do not rely on the car’s daylight running lights – they may not put the back lights on.
  • Reduce your speed and keep it down. Keep enough distance between yourself and the vehicle in front - make sure you can stop safely within the distance you can see clearly.
  • If the fog gets thicker, slow down.
  • Switch on headlights and fog lamps if visibility is reduced.
  • If you can see the vehicles to your rear, the drivers behind can see you – switch off your rear fog lamps to avoid dazzling them.
  • Use the demister and windscreen wipers.
  • Brake gently but earlier than usual so your brake lights warn drivers behind.
  • Do not 'hang on' to the rear lights of the car in front as you will be too close to be able to brake safely.
  • Switch off distracting noises and open the window slightly so that you can listen for other traffic, especially at crossroads and junctions.
  • Beware of speeding up immediately visibility improves slightly. In patchy fog you could find yourself 'driving blind' again only moments later.
  • Be aware that other vehicles may be travelling without their lights on, and pedestrians and cyclists will be hard to see anyway, so extra care and attention is needed.
  • At junctions, wind the window down and listen for traffic. If you have electric windows, open the passenger one to listen that way as well.
  • Straining to see through thick fog will quickly make you tired – take regular breaks.

Don’t overtake a queue on the dual carriageway, and expect it to be as clear in front of it. The queue will have cleared the fog where it is, and you will hit a wall of thicker fog at the front.

If you break down, inform the police and get the vehicle off the road as soon as possible. Never park on the road in fog and never leave it without warning lights of some kind if it is on the wrong side of the road.

Tips for driving with Strong Winds

  • Hold on tight
  • Avoid bridges
  • If driving a high sided vehicle...don't.

For more information and winter tips go to RoSPA website.


Proposal to increase penalties for drivers who kill

The government has a commitment to ensuring that deaths or serious injuries on the road continue to fall, and where they are the result of criminal behaviour, the courts should have the right tools available to deliver justice.

With this in mind, the government has published a consultation about sentencing for offenders who kill or seriously injure others on the road and is committed to making sure that the legislative framework that the courts operate within reflects the seriousness of offending and the culpability of the offender.

This consultation seeks views on whether the current maximum penalties available to the courts should be increased. Proposals include:

  • increasing the maximum sentence for causing death by dangerous driving from 14 years to life;
  • increasing the maximum sentence for causing death by careless driving whilst under the influence of drink or drugs from 14 years to life;
  • creating a new offence of causing serious injury by careless driving, with a maximum sentence of 3 years;
  • increasing minimum driving bans for those convicted of causing death.

The new proposals mean drivers who cause death by speeding, street racing or while on a mobile phone would face the same sentences as those charged with manslaughter. However, sentencing remains a matter for independent judges, with decisions made based on the facts of the case, even though the current maximum sentence is 14 years imprisonment and no-one has been handed the maximum sentence, since it was increased in 2004.

According to the Ministry of Justice, 122 people were sentenced for causing death by dangerous driving in 215, with a further 21 convicted of causing death by careless driving while under the influence. The average custodial sentence for causing death by careless or dangerous driving in 2015 was 45.8 months. In 2015 the Government increased the maximum custodial sentence for causing death while driving when disqualified from two to 10 years.

A new offence of causing serious injury when driving while disqualified was also created, with a maximum penalty of four years’ imprisonment.

For more information visit the Department for Transport website.

Click here to respond to the consultation and provide your views on the matter.


Drink Driving

Tougher drink-drive laws were introduced in Scotland in 2014, which meant that a pint of beer or glass of wine could put you over the limit. The legal limit for driving decreased from 80mg per 100ml to 50mg of alcohol in every 100ml of blood. The equivalent breath alcohol was reduced from 35 micrograms of alcohol per 100 millilitres of breath to 22 micrograms of alcohol per 100 millilitres of breath.

As even small amounts of alcohol affect your ability to drive, the only safe advice is to avoid any alcohol if you are driving. It’s estimated that Police Scotland stop over 80,000 vehicles each month, with around 20,000 offences detected every month.

The Police have a commitment to breathalyse any driver who:

  • has been stopped for any moving traffic offence (e.g. using a mobile phone, a faulty brake light, not wearing a seatbelt)
  • they suspect has been drinking or taking drugs
  • has been involved in an accident

Even if you’re under the limit, you can still be charged with impairment through drink or drugs (legal or illegal).

The vehicle forfeiture scheme targets repeat offenders, and also first-time offenders who are three times the limit or more or who refuse to provide a sample for analysis. This scheme means you could lose your car, for good.

If the police want to investigate whether you are over the drink driving limit, they will carry out a screening breath test at the roadside.

To do this, they will use a breathalyser.

If you fail this test, or if they have other grounds to believe that your driving was impaired through drink, you will be arrested and taken to a police station.

At the station you will need to provide two more breath specimens into a complex breathalyser, called an evidential breath testing instrument. The lower of the two readings is used to decide whether you are above the drink driving limit.

If the evidential breath sample is up to 40% over the limit you have the right to replace your evidential breath specimen with blood or urine - the police officer will decide which test you will have. If your evidential samples show that you are over the limit, you will be charged.

The police can carry out a breathalyser test if you have committed a moving traffic offence (such as banned turns) been involved in an accident, or have given the police grounds to believe you are over the limit.

Anyone caught over the legal alcohol limit when driving will be banned from driving for at least 12 months, and fined up to £5,000. You can also be given between three to 11 penalty driving points. And you could be sent to prison for up to six months.

Imprisonment, the period of disqualification, the size of fine and penalty points depends on the seriousness of the offence. If you’re caught drink driving more than once in a 10 year period, you’ll be banned for at least three years. If you cause an accident with casualties, you might face up to 10 years in prison.

You can easily still be over the limit the morning after an evening's drinking:

  • It can take roughly 10 hours to be alcohol-free after drinking one bottle of wine.
  • It can take roughly 13 hours to be alcohol-free after drinking four pints of strong lager or ale.

You can get more information about Drink Driving, view the campaign and test your reactions at Don’t Risk it website.

The likelihood of being caught is now greater than ever before.


Road Safety Scotland Festive campaign ‘best approach is none’

Drivers in Scotland are being reminded that ‘the best approach is none’ as the Scottish Government and Road Safety Scotland launches its festive drink drive awareness campaign.

Last year – 12 months after the lower drink drive limit was introduced – one in 35 drivers stopped during the festive season were over the legal limit compared with one in 50 motorists drink driving over the same period in previous year.

With Christmas parties in full swing, drivers are being urged to remember the drink drive limit and not take risks over the festive season. The chances of being caught are higher than ever.

More than 20,000 drivers are stopped by police every month. This awareness campaign supports Police Scotland’s enforcement campaign, which will see even more patrols on Scotland’s roads from Friday 2 December.

The new campaign reinforces the message that ‘the best approach is none’, reminding motorists that even if you’re slightly over the limit, in the eyes of the law you are a drunk driver and a criminal.

For more information, visit Road Safety Scotland and/or Police Scotland websites.

MORR Case Studies

If you have a MORR policy which we can add to the ScORSA case study page of the website we would like to hear from you. This could be a whole MORR policy document or simply parts of a MORR policy that you are willing to share with other businesses. (Please email

FREE ScORSA Resources

The Scottish Occupational Road Safety Alliance (ScORSA) has A4 notepads which feature various road safety messages, key rings with our campaign ethos of Come Home Safe available. Just for winter season, we have taken delivery of ice scrappers and chamois clothes.

As a way of supporting your efforts to improve occupational road risk, all these resources are free of charge to SMEs that are ScORSA members.

To order your promotional items just Email us.

For more information about ScORSA or to become a member, please visit our website.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!!!

Christmas holiday season is here again and we’re heading towards of one of the happiest times of the year.

While you enjoy the time with friends and family that this season brings, stay mindful of the potential hazards and risks that can bring unwanted tragedy to your door.

Whether on the road, at home, work or during leisure activities keep focused on your own safety, and that of your family and friends.

Thank you for the support you have given to ScORSA during 2016, and we look forward to working with you again during 2017.