Driving at work health and safety
Most of us can’t imagine our world without a car. Driving has become an essential part of modern life and everybody assumes that once you have passed the appropriate test and obtained a driving license that’s enough to drive and not to worry ever again about the re-training and the risks that driving at work health and safety involves. Re-training what???- would be the instant reaction of almost all of us. The truth is that driving is the most dangerous activity while at work it represents 35% of the annual deaths on UK roads. If we think about for a moment, if health and safety regulations as we know them now had existed when engines were invented, nobody would be even thinking about using a car. Because is too risky.
The cost for businesses when accidents occur is high, so there are some steps which companies could take in order to reduce the risks and costs and manage their driver’s behaviour while at work. collision related costs could be considerable. Although a possible vehicle repair is on average £750, the real cost is up to 30 times that amount if you add the increased insurance costs, administrative time dealing with the accident, loss of productivity due to the employee absence, etc..
So having your employees driving at work health and safety is a serious issue for your business. Either you have your own company cars fleet and/ or “grey fleet”- (employees are using their own vehicles for business) you need to make sure everybody have appropriate and legal driving license. Bear in mind that during these high-tech times we live in, there are more fake licenses in circulation than ever before. The usual forgetfulness to renew the address, the photograph or upgrade the surname will cost you money if accident happens, because such small looking things actually invalidate the document. Vehicle registration, marks and dates, insurance validity, road taxes, MOT records, who is the usual driver and where the car is based in all those are records you have to keep up to date to avoid problems with the authorities.
The minimum legal requirement which the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 contemplates is to carry out a “suitable and sufficient risk assessment of every risk to employees”, obviously this includes driving for work purposes. There are different types of risk assessment in accordance with the industry and the activity, but there is no a standard one, so the advice of a health and safety advisor might be required. A well thought out assessment would categorize drivers into risk bands and the higher-risk group could be given the appropriate support and training in some cases. A lot of a good quality and cost-effective way of training would be through online modules. In vehicle practical training is expensive and may be many employees may be reluctant to do it. Groups work shops and seminars are another solution when training is needed. Another good way to reduce corporate culpability in case of accident and in the same time minimize the protests of the workforce ( many would think that company is labeling them as a “bad drivers”), is to outsource the problem to companies which will provide all your employees with “Permit to Drive”. Essentially, such businesses take care of checking the everybody’s driving licenses, vehicles, ensure you that every driver has taken a risk assessment and completed the necessary training to reduce risks, has had a regular eye check ups and has no other health issues that might compromise the safety.
If you have a road accident the authorities would look for a care related policies. Such policies would have to show the guidance given to the employee on what is expected while driving at work, including instruction whether it is acceptable to use mobile phones, a clear message explaining who is responsible for the day-to-day safety vehicle check ups, best practice on fatigue management, parking and speeding, procedures to follow in case of collision or breakdown, etc. Obviously you should be able to demonstrate (best if written and signed) that all drivers have been given access to the policies, have understood them and have agreed/accepted to follow those rules of behaviour. This is a comfortable way to limit the responsibility of the company in case of accident. The official bodies which could provide you with such policies are the British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association or the Association of Car Fleet Operators.
Drive safe and enjoy. ….