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Safer refugee services in Africa: World Day for Safety and Health at Work
Global | Geneva

Safer refugee services in Africa: World Day for Safety and Health at Work

26 Apr 2024 · People

Safety is at the heart of our work. For decades, we, together with our members, have worked to make road transport safer for everyone, including for drivers operating vital life-saving services.

On World Day for Safety and Health at Work, IRU, the world road transport organisation, reinforces its focus on a safe working environment for drivers conducting vital humanitarian road missions, often to remote and rural locations.

To raise road safety in key African countries, we have teamed up with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

The UN Refugee Agency operates a global fleet of over 6,000 light vehicles.

International and local staff members as well as partner organisations rely on UNHCR’s fleet and drivers to conduct vital humanitarian road missions.

We developed a tailored training programme, based on internationally recognised standards, adapted to the local context and operational framework of each country and mission. 

The training and certification programmes include special courses for trainers, pre-training knowledge tests, post-training assessments, and defensive training skills for complex environments. 

Road crashes constitute a major threat to the health and safety of UNHCR personnel, implementing partners, affected people and populations, and local communities. Accidents also challenge the UN Refugee Agency’s ability to deliver its vital life-saving programmes. Internationally recognised safety training and certifications lower accidents.  


UN Decade of Action for Road Safety

Ensuring that drivers are safe at work goes beyond the drivers themselves. It involves a number of actors who are central to any road transport operation.

In support of the UN Decade of Action for Road Safety and to improve the overall road safety of refugee operations, we held a conference last year together with the UNHCR Road Safety Unit and the Eastern Alliance for Safe and Sustainable Transport.

The road safety conference brought together people working for UNHCR and its partners operating ambulances, running fleets, managing risks or working on occupational safety and health.

Training, capacity-building, awareness-raising and incentives are all necessary to minimise human error and improve safety standards.

Valuing people

Proper safety management is a key priority for our industry, focusing on human capital is paramount to reaching measurable and concrete improvements. 

Alongside our IRU Academy safety training and certification programmes, such as Road Safety at Work and Defensive Driving and Crash Prevention, we help road transport companies implement evidence-based actions with data visualisation and innovative digital dashboards.

RoadMasters, IRU’s risk and talent management solution, provides a comprehensive analysis for evaluating professional drivers’ skills profile, allowing companies to identify skills gaps, measure progress, and implement targeted action.

All assessment and training information are subsequently compiled in RoadMasters’ digital dashboards to help managers and road transport companies continuously strive for excellence.