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Driver safety: Fleets must have a duty-of-care process

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Darren Newton, chief technology officer at Software Europe, looks at duty of care.

Every week around 200 road deaths and serious injuries involve someone at work. The Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007 considers the vehicle as part of the workplace, and driving any vehicle on company business, regardless of ownership, is subject to this legislation. 

As an employer, you have a responsibility to ensure that employee safety is not compromised through negligence and, with business drivers 25-30% more likely to have a collision than private drivers, according to the Occupational Road Safety Alliance, how well are you managing your duty of care obligations? What is your duty of care?

Companies must be seen to take all reasonable action to minimise exposure to risk, so far as reasonably practicable.Therefore, at the very least, you’ll be expected to consider risks, review policies and procedures and take steps for continual review and improvement. 

Failure to check licences, or reimburse expenses payments without adequate licence checks, could be interpreted as causing, or permitting, illegal behaviour. So how can you tackle such an onerous task without dedicating some serious administrative time and work?

The best place to start is to identify and understand exactly your legal obligations. Here are five steps to developing and implementing an effective duty-of-care process:

1. Update and communicate the policy to all employees.

2. Conduct road safety training on an ongoing basis.

3. Keep documented evidence, such as copies of driving licences, MOT certificates and vehicle service histories.

4. Evaluate different technology solutions that can help automate time-intensive tasks.

5. Monitor and audit internal processes and policy on an ongoing basis.

Out of the high number of fatal UK road casualties every year, between 600-750 are work-related crashes. Taking steps to develop and maintain a good duty of care policy ensures not only that you’re adhering to your legal obligations, but that you’re helping to improve the safety of your employees too.

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  • Ram Kasi - 15/04/2015 14:20

    @Darren- you are right. I think company or some department any ways collects such information for the insurance purposes and may be the systems should get smarter in combining the required departments, flagging up issues when something has expired or even due for renewal. Also if the systems uses a workflow mechanism to see whether the required documents are all right before processing the reimbursements would be good step as well. Plus if we want to go one step further, there are devices which tracks vehicle information can be clubbed with this systems to identify safe and rash drivers.

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