‘Safety in the Grey Zone’: evaluation of a training program to improve the safety of incident responders on high-speed roads

Sharon Newnam, Hayley McDonald, Tim Austin, Simon Bruce, Carlyn Muir, Tony Mazzeo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


Introduction: Workers operating on high-speed roads (i.e., incident responders and emergency service workers) are at significant risk of being fatally injured while working. An identified gap in current prevention strategies is training focused on developing the skills of workers to effectively communicate and coordinate safety responses when operating on roads. Methods: This study discusses the development of a program designed to optimize communication and coordination of safety practices at the scene of an incident on a high-speed road. The program is referred to as ‘Safety in the Grey Zone.’ The goal of the study is to present the results from an evaluation on its implementation across 23 sessions involving 158 participants from 7 incident response agencies in 1 state in Australia. Results: The results of this study provide support for effectiveness in implementing the program as planned. The results also provide preliminary support for effectiveness of the program in achieving its learning outcomes as demonstrated by feedback received from participants following completion of the program. Conclusions: The findings of this study provide recommendations to consider in the program's future roll-out, as well as suggestions for future evaluations to assess the program's effectiveness in improving the safety of incident responders operating on high-speed roads.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)83-90
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Safety Research
Publication statusPublished - 2024


  • First responders
  • Occupational safety
  • Process evaluation
  • Road safety
  • Safety management

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