EASST and IRU facilitate road safety training for UN Refugee Agency

News, Occupational Road Safety Management

This week EASST has teamed up with IRU – the International Road Transport Union – to support the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) in delivering road safety training to over 100 members of staff in charge of fleet management, Occupational Safety and Health (OSH), risk management, programs, and administration as well as partner organizations operating UNHCR ambulances.

The aim of the training is to identify countermeasures that could be adopted globally within UNHCR’s road safety management structure and raise awareness about the importance of fleet safety management.

“Having fleet managers in operations is cost-effective and is fundamental for the proper administration of fleet-related tasks, including road safety. Hiring fleet managers leads to budget savings that could be put towards our core work of attending the needs of Persons of Concern.”
– Carlos Guemez Shedden, Senior Road Safety Coordinator, UNHCR

For UNHCR, vehicular transportation is crucial for attending to the needs of the forcibly displaced (persons who are forced to flee their homes due to conflicts, violence, human rights violations, and persecution).

Unfortunately, this exposes UNHCR and partner organizations personnel to the risk of traffic crashes, a leading cause of aid worker deaths globally.

“We know that current UN Decade of Action on Road Safety has an ambitious target of reducing predicted growth in road casualties by 50% by 2030. And safe fleet management presents great opportunity to contribute to that target since 1 in 7 vehicles on the worlds roads are commercial. Having such event as today’s e-conference at UNHCR helps to raise the issue of safe occupational road safety management once again and work towards the overall goal of reducing global road casualties.”
– Dmitry Sambuk, Deputy Director, EASST

In 2019, the UNHCR High Commissioner signed the UN Strategy on Road Safety under which the organisation makes road safety an active priority. UNHCR is designing and implementing initiatives to reduce the rates of traffic crashes and protect the lives of its staff, partner organisations, and the communities they serve. This week’s training covers a wide range of issues within this strategy including:

  • Promoting the importance of fleet management for improving road safety performance in operations
  • Explaining road safety management practices
  • Explaining the importance of monitoring and controlling risk factors such as speed and driver behaviour
  • Presenting characteristics of safe ambulance operations
  • Discussing road safety challenges within operations
  • Discussing countermeasures that some operations have adopted

The conference is an important opportunity for knowledge sharing, networking and collaboration whilst also raising awareness. One area we will focus on is the driver selection process which is the very first step and opportunity to identify competent, responsible drivers and with this reduce the risk of traffic crashes.”
– Csaba Enyedi, Transport Associate, UNHCR

“Managing safety and efficiency is paramount for all organisations for which transport and mobility is at the heart of delivering their activities. Hence such event helps build awareness and share information to further enhance sustainability in UNHCR’s essential work.”
– Patrick Philip, Director Certification and Standards, IRU

Photo above: UNHCR