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3m takes a ‘giant step’ to secure road safety ‘business champion’ status

10 July 2009

Diversified technology company 3M played its part in helping astronaut Neil Armstrong become the first man to walk on the moon and 40 years later the organisation is in the vanguard of promoting occupational road safety.

3M, which operates a UK-based fleet of more than 800 company cars with a further 400 employees driving their own cars on business, is the latest organisation to be recruited as a ‘business champion’ under the Government’s ‘Driving for Better Business’ campaign.

3M has had a long-time focus on occupational road risk management. However, the central plank of its current strategy, which was introduced almost 12 months ago, is a complete ban on mobile phone use while driving.

Some 10 million business miles are driven annually by 3M employees in the UK and Ireland. In a typical year there are approximately 140 incidents involving 3M vehicles, with an average vehicle repair cost of £890. In the past five years, 23 incidents resulted in injuries to 3M employees. There were no fatalities.

3M says the mobile phone ban was introduced proactively as a preventative measure - not as a reaction to incidents involving 3M drivers. ‘Before and after’ crash statistics are being monitored, but, the company says, more time will need to pass before a meaningful analysis can be undertaken. However, the company says other benefits are already apparent - particularly in the form of PR, employee engagement and company reputation.

3M managing director Doug Mitchell said: “Our employees’ welfare and safety is paramount to 3M - we have an outstanding record when it comes to the prevention of work place accidents - and we are fully committed to keeping that record whether our employees are on 3M premises or on the move.”

Commenting on the company’s involvement in the ‘Driving for Better Business’ campaign and the signing of the Charter, Mr Mitchell said: “Just as we promote health and safety best practice in our offices so we must also promote a duty of care on the road.

“A road traffic accident, whether or not it directly involves one of our employees, can have a direct impact on our business by delaying staff travelling to an important client meeting which can then effect our relations with that customer.

“We believe that a robust occupational road risk management strategy leads to fewer road crashes, meaning more reliable journey times and an improved environment in which to conduct business.