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23.12.2005 Regional News

Driving, most dangerous activity within Unilever

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Tema, Dec. 23, GNA - Driving has been identified as the most dangerous activity within Unilever workplace environment, especially in the developing countries.

Mr Charles Coffie, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Unilever Ghana Limited said this on Thursday, when he addressed the company's workers during their road safety campaign with the theme, "Drive Defensively to Stay Alive This Season."

Mr Coffie said "This year alone, three out of the five recorded fatal accidents within Unilever globally were driving related." According to him, eight fatal accidents were reported and seven of these were also related to driving.

He said even though available statistics of road accidents in Ghana indicated a downward trend, yet the figures were alarming, therefore there was the need to do something about it.

He explained that the road safety campaign was the beginning of a process to sensitise people towards a behavioural change to achieve zero accident rates on their sites.

Mr Coffie said they drove frequently in their daily activities and sometimes covered more than 80 km daily, adding, "We work and drive under constant stress as a result of socio-economic and other family related pressures, this puts us at high risk on the road."

He noted that things escalate during festivities like Christmas, consequently, people tend to rush and take short cuts exposing themselves to road accidents and its consequences such as death, injury, deformity and property damage.

Highlighting on the factors attributing to road accidents, he said, people, vehicle, road condition, environment and attitude were the five major factors.

Mr Coffie said the human factor was paramount, because people drive vehicles, repair roads, inspect and maintain vehicles, therefore any programme to stem the spate of accidents must address that factor. He said to achieve zero accident rates during this season, safety should be considered a personal matter and every one would be held accountable for their action or inaction that has the tendency of putting life and property at risk.

He announced that, Unilever would hold continuous safety training and awareness creation programme, adding that, Unilever Ghana would team up with other state institutions like the National Road Safety Commission and the Ghana Fire Service to embark on a national campaign for road, workplace and domestic safety.

According to the CEO, Unilever treasures its human resource and would do everything to prevent conditions that predispose its staff to injury.

He however, said that it was the responsibility of every worker to reciprocate the company's effort by eliminating factors that would result in accidents both at work, on the road and at home.

He called on drivers to avoid drunk driving, over speeding, unnecessary overtaking and other unsafe driving behaviours, as a means of curbing accidents during the festivities.

Mr Coffie advised the general public to exercise extreme care at home and on the road, saying, "It pays to remember that there is no alternative to good health and safety, therefore, whether you are a pedestrian, passenger or a driver, observe all road safety rules and regulations."

He said for drivers to drive defensively, they should consider other road users, plan their trips, avoid rushing and drunk driving; rest when tired, avoid the use of phones, when driving and above all be committed to apply what they have learnt, while changing their attitude on the road.

The public must also not distract or instruct drivers on the road, they should also allow vehicles to stop completely before alighting and report any reckless driver to the appropriate authorities.

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