The importance of roadside recovery workers

Roadside recovery is a vital service. Vehicles break down on the road or are involved in road traffic accidents every day. So, someone needs to be ready to deal with the aftermath by providing a fast and effective service while ensuring the safety of everyone involved. However, due to the nature of this working environment, it’s a job that carries a big risk to the health and safety of the individuals carrying out the recoveries. According to statistics from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), three out of five serious motorway incidents involve a broken down vehicle on the hard shoulder. It’s estimated that there are approx. 6-8 fatalities every year amongst 5,000 or so RRR (roadside recovery and repair) technicians.

The safety of roadside recovery workers has also become more prevalent in the media in recent years. The AA, RAC and Green Flag have all called for the introduction of a new ‘slow down, move over’ policy for motorists after three mechanics were killed in 12 months. This would require drivers to slow down and move over into the next lane when they see a broken down vehicle or recovery vehicle. This issue was also highlighted in Parliament in 2019, through the launch of the Professional Recovery Operators Federation (PROF). To address the risks to RRR technicians, it will “provide a forum through which the industry can effect positive change”.

 Although roadside recovery is a dangerous job, it’s essential for ensuring the safety of drivers on the road by moving broken down vehicles and collisions as soon as possible. If these remain on the road or aren’t alerted to by authorities, then other vehicles may hit them. This can cause additional casualties and damage. Roadside recovery workers can also be a lifesaver for drivers who have broken down on the road and need urgent assistance to get moving again. Convenience is very much part of British culture.

Skilled mechanics first, their job often doesn’t just end at repairing vehicles or moving them off the road. Roadside recovery technicians can be a great source of empathy and support for those that have been involved in an accident and may be shaken up. Seeing more than their fair share of accidents, their emotional intelligence becomes second nature.

How to ensure the safety of roadside recovery workers

With businesses having a legal obligation to protect the health, safety and well-being of their workers, employers of roadside recovery technicians should assess the risks they face and take the appropriate steps to minimise them. A vital aspect of this is educating your employees by delivering suitable health and safety training. This will include how to follow emergency procedures and report any incidents at work. They must also be adequately trained on how to use roadside recovery vehicles and equipment.

One of the biggest risks to RRR technicians is the likelihood of being struck by a moving vehicle. This is a concern that exists all year round, though it’s even more prevalent when working during dusk till dawn. As HSE advises, employers should supply roadside recovery workers with appropriate PPE (Personal Protective Equipment). High visibility workwear that is fully compliant with the EN20471 Standard for High Visibility Clothing will increase employees’ visibility in adverse weather conditions and low light levels, minimising the number of casualties.

Ensuring this workwear is lightweight, comfortable and the correct size is also essential to enable  freedom of movement. This allows workers to carry out repairs or move vehicles off the road as quickly and effectively as possible. Roadside recovery can be stressful enough without needing to worry about your comfort and safety!

We provide a range of Bright Gear and Glow Gear workwear that can increase the safety of roadside recovery workers. Contact us today to find out more.

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