Is your business compliant?
Are you doing everything you’re legally required to do to manage your duty of care for business drivers?
Health and safety law requires employers to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare of all employees, while they are at work. Employers also have a responsibility to ensure that others are not put at risk by the work activities of their employees. This includes any driving activity on the road. There are over 6 million cars used for business in the UK including company cars and employees using their own cars, known as ‘grey’ fleet. The Department for Transport expects around a third of these to have a collision in the next 12 months so this should be a key concern to all employers.
The HSE website has a whole section dedicated to the important topic of ‘Work Related Road Safety‘ and lists some practical considerations for employers:
Drivers should be:
- competent and capable of doing their work in a way that is safe for them and others;
- properly trained;
- sufficiently fit and healthy to drive safely and not put themselves and others at risk;
- provided with information that will help them reduce risk (eg recommended tyre pressures);
- provided with appropriate advice on driving posture.
Vehicles should be:
- fit for the purpose for which they are used;
- maintained in a safe condition and fit for the road.
Journey planning should:
- take account of appropriate routes;
- incorporate realistic work schedules;
- not put drivers at risk from fatigue;
- take sufficient account of adverse weather conditions.
How Fleet21 can help you…
Managing occupational road risk can be confusing as many employers don’t realise the extent of their obligations, or how to carry them out effectively. Failure to do so means not just increased risk for your drivers and other road users, but also significant risks to the organisation and its managers in the even of a serious crash.
Safe Driving Policy
All employers need a comprehensive, robust and well written safe driving policy – this is not the same as a company car policy! The wording is essential as a poorly written policy could end up giving little or no protection if the company was investigated or prosecuted. Common problems we see are:
- A short passage about safety added to the company car policy as an afterthought
- Only having a short list of bullet-pointed ‘dos and don’ts’
- Failure to explain crucial topics such as mobile phone use, drugs and alcohol, driver fatigue, journey planning, adverse weather, speeding, and many others
- Stating rules too simplistically with no explanation of what they mean or how to act on them
- Incomplete emergency procedures
- Not being signed and dated by a company director
According to the DVLA 22% of drivers have out of date licences, there are 1 million drivers in the UK who have 9 or more points on their licences – so one more conviction and they will be disqualified for a minimum of 6 months. 250,000 people are disqualified every year. 7,500 driver have legally managed to keep their licence despite them having MORE than 12 points on their licences.
Would you know if any of them were driving for your business? And would your fleet insurance be valid if they were?
Guidance from the Department for Transport and Health & Safety Executive (HSE) is clear – employers are expected to check staff driving licences both when they join the business and at regular intervals afterwards.
Grey Fleet Checks
Many employers don’t realise they have the exactly the same obligations for drivers that use their own cars as they do for those driving company vehicles. These are your ‘grey’ fleet drivers. Employers need to ensure that the drivers are correctly licensed, that they have business insurance (more of which in a minute) and that their vehicles are suitable and have valid tax and MoT certificates.
We constantly meet employers who don’t believe they have responsibilities for these drivers but the law is clear – the employer’s responsibilities for ensuring their drivers’ eligibility, legality and competence are exactly the same whether they’re driving a company vehicle, their own vehicle, a hire car or a pool car.
Ensuring your grey fleet drivers have business insurance is critical. Most private insurance policies only permit the driver to travel to and from their ONE MAIN PLACE OF WORK. All other journeys are work journeys, for which they need specific business journeys, including:
- The obvious trips such as driving to meet clients or suppliers
- Travelling to work at a different office one day per week
- Driving to an off site training course
- Going to seminars, exhibitions or trade shows
- Leaving the office run errands such as going to the bank or post office
- Even making a detour on the way home to run work errands
If any of your employees use their own cars for these or similar types of journeys, you must make them aware of the requirements and check that they have complied.
Finally under duty of care, it is essential that your record details of everything you down as part of your road risk management programme. There are two reasons for this:
In the event of a serious crash, your business would be investigated by the police and possible the HSE as well. It is therefore vital that you can quickly prove you have made all the relevant checks, have the required policies in place, and have communicated well with your drivers about the risks involved. You should also record details of any training or workshops that your drivers attend as well as any instances where poor driving or behaviour has been formally recognised.