Risk assesment for work cycling – RAL

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    • #4009

      Question for STFC cyclists – It appears that the latest SHE code on work travel requires a risk assessment before using a bicycle for work journeys. Has anyone already done one that I could use as a basis for my own assessment?

      Thanks in advance.

    • #4010

      I do use a bike for work travel for STFC sometimes, mainly to Didcot Parkway. I wasn’t aware of this update though and have never done a risk assessment. I see the code now says “Motorcycle and bicycle use for business travel is not recommended and may only be permitted for short journeys. A specific risk assessment must be carried out and approved by the line manager before using a motorcycle or bicycle for any business travel.”

      I’m minded to challenge this. I don’t think it is significantly riskier for me to cycle to the station rather than drive, which is what colleagues do instead.

      • #4012

        Per mile travelled, cycling and motorcyling present a significantly greater risk of injury or death than using a car. See https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/744077/reported-road-casualties-annual-report-2017.pdf.

        For a defined work journey it therefore doesn’t seem unreasonable for one’s employer to require a risk assessment if one is choosing to use the riskier mode of transport.

        Note that this is not to gainsay the overall health benefits of cycling – regular cyclists live longer and healthier lives than non-cyclists because making cycling a part of your life means you are more likely to get good levels of exercise. Also, if your typical car journey is 20 times longer than your typical bike journey then the risk of injury or death per journey is similar with the two modes.

      • #4013

        I realise that cycling has worse safety stats per mile than driving a car, but it has overall lower mortality due to the health benefits, which is what I had in mind in comparing the two (but perhaps not what the Safety, Health and Environment code had in mind when drawn up). It’s also safer per mile than being a pedestrian. I do think the idea of risk assessing walking as part of each business trip highlights a certain absurdity in this new approach.

        And it’s going to work against UKRI’s new sustainability policy – supposedly ambitious, and coming in early 2020. There’s a talk in the lecture theatre at RAL on this on 24th October, 1pm. Link for STFC staff: https://staff.stfc.ac.uk/pages/event.aspx?event=3160 .

    • #4011

      According to its website “UKRI is committed to ensuring that sustainability is ‘embedded in everything we do’”. Making staff at STFC use fossil fuel generating transport doesn’t seem to fit with this statement!

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