Safety Forum #22 The Road to Zero Harm

15 May 2024

The principal aim of CLOCS is zero fatalities or serious injuries from construction related vehicle movements and a whilst we focus much of our attention on how to avoid collisions with vulnerable road users, there are also a number of suicides each year that we perhaps know less about, and therefore don't understand the role we might play in avoiding such tragedies.

In this latest CLOCS Safety Forum, we were joined by Ros Walker, Principal Behavioural Science Consultant at TRL, and Anne-Marie Penny, Senior Road Safety Policy Adviser at National Highways, to look at The Road to Zero Harm - reducing the risk of suicide related deaths for road users.

At National Highways everyone’s safety matters. They understand the devastating effect suicide can have and how this touches so many people and communities.  They recognise that they are part of a community-based approach to preventing suicide and work hard to influence and support wherever they can.

National Highways estimate that there are around 50-60 suicides each year on the strategic road network (SRN) and a significantly higher number of attempts.  National Highways want to have a network where no one will attempt to take their own life. We all have a role to play in making our network a safe place for all. We all need to be aware of and understand our approach to suicide prevention and the roles and responsibilities each of us has.

In 2017 National Highways launched their Suicide prevention strategy where they set out their vision that no one should attempt to take their own like on the SRN. This strategy recognises and demonstrates that National Highways understand that they have a role to play in reducing suicides and reducing the impact it has on those who might be affected by these events.

To deliver this strategy, National Highway has launched a series of initiatives to understand more about the factors that contribute to presentations of suicide and mitigations that can be put in place.

Ros and Anne-Marie shared more on these initiatives including the SPAR (Suicide Prevention and Assessment Review) standard to be launched later this year, together with the Driving for Better Business programme which focuses on the link between stress, mental health, and suicide amongst drivers.

We are delighted to share copies of the National Highways presentation and the TRL presentation that can be shared within your organisations to help educate and inform colleagues.

There was an interesting Q&A session following the presentations and it was highlighted that Network Rail workers including construction staff are now taught to notice potential suicidal behaviours particularly around stations and to then intervene.  More information can be found here.

Looking forward

Every company should be thinking about what they might do to address the issue of suicide across the communities they work in and also within their own organisation.  

Samantha Jackson from National Highways invited delegates to reach out to their team if you have any further questions on the presentation.  They can be contacted at suicide.prevention@nationalhighways.co.uk.

Please share this information across your organisations to ensure everyone is thinking about these issues and are looking out for signs that could help them take the appropriate steps.

And finally…

Our thanks to Ros and Anne-Marie for giving up their time to share their knowledge and insights on this subject with the CLOCS community, and thanks also those who attended sharing their own thoughts and experiences.

The voice of our members is vital to the success of CLOCS so please contact the team if you have any queries, suggestions or concerns about any aspect of CLOCS.                

These Safety Forums are designed to support and inform CLOCS members so please do let us know if you have any suggestions for future topics or whether you, or someone you know, would want to come along to a future Forum and share their expertise on a particular topic.

If you can think or anything or anyone, please contact the team at support@clocs.org.uk.