Road trauma may become one of the top five causes of death by 2030, up from being the ninth leading cause of death in the world.
Other countries have made significant strides in reducing road-related fatalities, yet the opposite has occurred in Australia. For instance, WorkSafe advised highway construction companies in Victoria to use equipment for road safety for projects, which can be risky for workers.
Safety during roadside work should be a priority because of several factors such as traffic, hot weather, noisy environment and working near heavy machines, according to Marnie Williams, WorkSafe Executive Director Health and Safety.
Williams said that workers should be oriented beforehand on a project’s site hazards and traffic management plan. The scope of work should be well-lit and have all the necessary signage and barriers to protect motorists, while weather conditions should be monitored to avoid sickness among employees.
These preventive steps are important to curb highway fatalities in the country, which appeared to have increased since 2014.
Australia’s roads claimed 1,295 lives per 100,000 people in 2016, up 6 percent year over year. For this reason, road safety experts from the University of the Sunshine Coast, University of Melbourne and University of New England recommended a new “systems-thinking-based approach.”
This strategy should replace the “safe-systems” scheme. The latter fails to address the underlying factors of some risky behaviour such as drug and drunk driving. Instead, it merely attempts to isolate violators and take them off the road.
Under the systems-thinking-based proposal, active participation of healthcare providers, government, media outlets among other public and private groups will be important to resolve the problem of driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs.
Road safety undoubtedly requires the involvement of the public, government and private sector groups. How would you contribute to make roads safer?