Three words that only apply to large haulage firms, right?
“We only have a couple of vehicles, so we don’t need to do anything.”
“We only do very small amounts of mileage, what’s the point?”
“We don’t have any of our own vehicles, employees use their own, so it’s none of our business.”
We hear the statements above a lot when we ask businesses how they manage driving on company business. All of them are wrong – if you have employees driving as part of their role, whether it be in a company vehicle or their own car, then fleet risk management should be something that you need to fully appreciate.
Every company has a legal obligation, or duty of care, to ensure that a workplace is safe and to prevent risks to health from occurring. Every company also has a legal obligation to ensure that their work activities do not affect others. Unfortunately most company’s consider that these duties cease at the company gates. This isn’t the case; vehicles are classed as workplaces, with all the same responsibilities that go along with that designation, in the eyes of the law.
So what do you need to have in order to comply with the law? As an absolute minimum we would recommend that you have:
· A driving for work policy – this is your chance to set the rules for your drivers. Do you want them to be using a mobile phone whilst driving? Do you want them to be driving all the hours under the sun? Do you want them to drive irresponsibly? Quick tip: the answer the all of these questions should be “no” and the policy is your chance to set the rules for your drivers. Exactly the way that you want them to be.
· A system for checking licences – The DVLA have recently abolished the paper counterpart licence. Are you still planning on taking a photocopy of the photo card as you have done for the last however-many years? If you are, then how do you know how many points the driver may have, or whether they’re currently disqualified? You will only be able to check this via an online check, whether it be via the DVLA’s Share My Details system or via a dedicated provider. A photocopy is no longer considered an adequate step in meeting your legal obligations.
· A form of driver risk assessment – Do you know who your high risk drivers are? Do you need to provide them with specialist training?
Driving is one of the most dangerous activities that a company can undertake. Drivers are, statistically, four times more likely to be killed during the course of their employment than deep sea divers. Most people only consider “professionals” such as HGV drivers, or taxi drivers or any other occupation with the word driver in the title to be at risk. After all a salesman, engineer or builder aren’t drivers are they? The fact is that they are, as is anyone who “just nips to the shops for a stamp”. You have a duty to protect them and other road users from harm. The consequences of failure can be severe. Fines in excess of £50,000 are not uncommon with companies being fined simply for not having the correct procedures in place.
If you’re unsure as to how to protect your employees, or need some assistance in setting up a fleet risk management system which works for you, then ProAktive can help. We might even be able to take a lot of the troublesome admin work off your hands!