An engineering or behavioural approach? A study into employee’s perceptions regarding the effectiveness of occupational road safety initiatives

Freeman, James, Banks, Tamara, & Davey, Jeremy (2016) An engineering or behavioural approach? A study into employee’s perceptions regarding the effectiveness of occupational road safety initiatives. Safety, 2(1).

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Background and Aims

Considerable variation has been documented with fleet safety interventions’ abilities to create lasting behavioural change, and research has neglected to consider employees’ perceptions regarding the effectiveness of fleet interventions. This is a critical oversight as employees’ beliefs and acceptance levels (as well as the perceived organisational commitment to safety) can ultimately influence levels of effectiveness, and this study aimed to examine such perceptions in Australian fleet settings.


679 employees sourced from four Australian organisations completed a safety climate questionnaire as well as provided perspectives about the effectiveness of 35 different safety initiatives.


Countermeasures that were perceived as most effective were a mix of human and engineering-based approaches:

  • (a) purchasing safer vehicles;

  • (b) investigating serious vehicle incidents, and;

  • (c) practical driver skills training.

In contrast, least effective countermeasures were considered to be:

  • (a) signing a promise card;

  • (b) advertising a company’s phone number on the back of cars for complaints and compliments, and;

  • (c) communicating cost benefits of road safety to employees.

No significant differences in employee perceptions were identified based on age, gender, employees’ self-reported crash involvement or employees’ self-reported traffic infringement history. Perceptions of safety climate were identified to be “moderate” but were not linked to self-reported crash or traffic infringement history. However, higher levels of safety climate were positively correlated with perceived effectiveness of some interventions.


Taken together, employees believed occupational road safety risks could best be managed by the employer by implementing a combination of engineering and human resource initiatives to enhance road safety. This paper will further outline the key findings in regards to practice as well as provide direction for future research.

Impact and interest:

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ID Code: 93804
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: safety culture, climate, occupational road safety, interventions
DOI: 10.3390/safety2010007
ISSN: 2313-576X
Divisions: Current > Research Centres > Centre for Accident Research & Road Safety - Qld (CARRS-Q)
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > Institutes > Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
Current > Schools > School of Psychology & Counselling
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2016 the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.
Copyright Statement: This article is an open access
article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons by Attribution
(CC-BY) license (
Deposited On: 17 Mar 2016 01:03
Last Modified: 18 Mar 2016 13:39

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