3 Nov 14

Go-karts and ‘beer goggles’ help drive important safety message

Dozens of employees at EDF Energy’s Barnwood offices had their driving skills put to the test during a unique road safety event designed to raise awareness of the dangers of driving whilst impaired.

Coinciding with European Health and Safety week (20-26 Oct), EDF Energy targeted the initiative at younger staff members, recognising their increased risk of being involved in a road traffic accident.

The front entrance to the company offices underwent a transformation into a miniature road scene, complete with cardboard cut-outs of hazards including pedestrians and cyclists.

Employees took it in turns to get behind the wheel of an electric go-kart and negotiate the course avoiding the hazards. They then repeated the challenge wearing ‘beer goggles’ to simulate the effects of alcohol and drugs upon a driver. Most were astonished by the extent impaired vision impeded their performance – at only 8mph! Even confident drivers who tried to overcome the impairment found themselves in simulated collisions.

Recognising how well the event was received by employees, EDF Energy has now committed to sponsoring the event for a local sixth form.

Ron Keasley, project control engineer at EDF Energy, who helped stage the initiative said: “Driving is the number one risk for employees working at this site. Many commute to work and lots of people drive to fulfil their role. This experience enables people to come face-to-face with road dangers in a safe and controlled environment. It was great to stimulate awareness amongst staff, and in particular young people, in this innovative way.”

The event was attended by Gloucestershire Police which provided traffic officers and their safety camera vehicle allowing staff to see first-hand how speed is monitored to improve safety.

Garry Handley OBE, road safety manager at The Gloucestershire Road Safety Partnership, said: “We were delighted to support this event and it really helped to raise the profile of some of the risks associated with driving. The aim was to make road safety enjoyable, memorable and to remind everyone of their responsibility to share the roads with care, whether they drive, cycle or walk.”

EDF Energy employs 1,600 at its Barnwood offices, in areas specialising in electricity generation, training, customer service and business support. The event was delivered by Gloucester based safety company 3D Driving Awareness.