Background Finland currently uses two parallel preventive accident investigation systems. Fatal accidents occurring at work are investigated as occupational accidents. Fatal accidents occurring in traffic are investigated as road accidents.
In professional driving, fatal road accidents are road and occupational accidents at the same time, but the accident investigation method used is the same as in road accidents. However, the authorities and researchers of occupational accidents are interested in learning about the investigation methods of road accidents, and vice versa. The aim of this study was to analyse past road accidents as occupational accidents, in the hope of gaining a better understanding of the work-related risks involved.
Methods The data collected from the Finnish Motor Insurer’s Centre’s databases. One quantitative analysis was performed using data from fatal heavy traffic accidents from 1991 to 2011. Two qualitative analyses were performed: the first used data from fatal accidents from 2010 to 2012, while the second covered accidents which led to the death of the driver of a heavy vehicle from 2011 to 2013.
Results Both qualitative analyses indicated that there were a number of work-related risks contributing to the accidents, for example poor planning, excessive work hours and tight timetables. The quantitative analysis contained some indications of driver-related risks that, in the qualitative analyses, might also be seen as work-related risks. For example, one reason for an accident was the driver’s fatigue, while the underlying reason might have been poor logistical planning.
Conclusions The qualitative results give more information about work-related risks and verify a new point of view for improving the safety of professional driving in heavy traffic. The work-related risks indicate that safety information is important to include in educational material, not only for drivers, but also for all planners and other people in the logistics chain.
- Road safety
- occupational health and safety
- injury prevention
- work-related risks