Dubai company seeks to ensure employee’s safe commutes through video

Experts have welcomed a video produced by a Dubai company that encourages employees to use seat belts, saying it is a way for the private sectors to promote road safety.

A still from a video produced by Serco Middle East that encourages it's employees to drive safely and wear a seat belt. Courtesy Serco Middle East
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DUBAI // A Dubai company has released a video demonstrating the importance of wearing seat belts, after two serious road accidents last year that affected its own employees.

“The idea around the video was to actually use employees and to share their message,” Laura Kelly, assurance director of Serco Middle East, said on Tuesday.

“We hope that would be a stronger message of the importance of road safety than if we were to use perhaps the more conventional corporate notices and policies. We wanted to bring a human factor to the message.”

The video, which was released on YouTube and runs for four minutes and 49 seconds, encourages the company’s employees to read its road safety policy and to wear seat belts, which dramatically reduce the risk of death or serious injury in accidents.

It features Cathie Ledesma, a housekeeper at Serco Saudi Services, who fractured her left shoulder in a road crash in which she wasn’t wearing a seat belt. In the campaign video, she recalled leaving their accommodation and encountering a “rude and aggressive driver”. Their minibus got into an accident, rolled over and hit a tree.

After the incident, Ms Ledesma vowed to wear a seat belt at all times.

“The first thing that comes to my mind is to push the safety rule of wearing your seat belt all the time,” she said.

Lucy Hannon, a human resources business partner at Serco, said she was knocked unconscious following a collision with another vehicle in Abu Dhabi in December.

“If I didn’t have my seat belt on, I would’ve definitely been thrown through the window,” she said. “I experienced how seat belts saved lives, and I learnt how to always be cautious and never take fellow road users for granted.”

David Greer, Serco’s chief executive, said they launched the road safety policy so “the risks of travelling to and from work are reduced to the absolute minimum level”.

“I urge you all to read the company’s road safety policy and make it part of your daily lives,” he said in the video. “Drive to survive.”

Using videos and awareness measures can win the hearts and minds of employees, and work towards a better road safety culture in the organisation, said Dr Britta Lang, head of the British consultancy Transport Research Laboratory.

“Serco has real potential to improve road safety and it illustrates how the private sector can work towards road safety,” she said.

“We know from research that driving to work is one of the riskiest activities that we tend to engage during the day. About one in three accidents on the roads includes someone driving for work.”

The video, which is in English, has been translated into Arabic, Hindi, Malayalam, Sinhala and Tagalog.

The company strives for “zero harm” to its 4,200 employees across the Middle East, which includes vigilant road safety practices by all company drivers and staff.

“We developed a vision for everyone to travel the road safely, for road users to respect each other’s rights and behave responsibly and considerately,” Ms Kelly said. “We took that ‘zero harm’ ethos and applied it to the road safety risk that our staff was exposed to daily.”