Comprehensive tyre and vehicle safety training has slashed the rates of disabling injuries due to vehicle crashes involving employees of the South African National Parks Biodiversity Social Projects (BSP). Disabling injuries have dropped significantly since the 2011 rate according to Bridgestone Training Manager, Mickey Von Maltitz.
“SANParks approached Bridgestone for help in managing their vehicle risks in 2011 after tyre problems were identified as a major contributing factor to traffic crashes among BSP staff,” she explained. “In one case, 12 people were injured in a single crash,” she added.
Bridgestone responded by dispatching a team of tyre safety specialists to the Kruger National Park to investigate the incident rate and provide tyre and roadworthiness training to BSP staff. The training was provided to as many members of each BSP team as possible, not just contractors and drivers. The objective was to ensure that anyone who travelled in a vehicle was able to identify an unsafe tyre and suggest the correct remedial action.
The training, which kicked off in January 2012, soon saw a reduction in unroadworthy tyres by more than 50%, with a resultant decrease in crashes. “The outcomes of the programme have been so positive that SANParks decided to continue the training programme in 2013,” Von Maltitz explained. “SANParks’s Frontier Cluster is the second to benefit this year, and Bridgestone’s tyre specialists also returned to the Kruger Park in May to conduct follow-up training,” she added.
The result has been that SANParks is enjoying the lowest rate of disabling injuries among BSP staff in two years and has also seen a reduction in both the number of traffic crashes as well as their severity. The wide acceptance of the project by BSP staff had been a key driver of the improved safety standard. “Projects like this depend on trainee acceptance for their success and we’re pleased to report a hugely positive reception for the programme,” she explained.
“From the very first day, the BSP staff were eager to learn and the results of the programme show that they’ve taken the training content to heart,” she said. “SANParks has decided to continue the programme into the future, and we’re confident that this will result in continued lower crash and injury rates due to better tyre and vehicle knowledge among their staff,” she concluded.