Fleet News

Fleet operators at heart of new health and safety push

UP to 2,500 UK fleets are to be involved in a nationwide bid to assess health and safety standards for company car drivers as part of a drive to cut accidents on the UK's roads. The survey will be combined with a Health and Safety Executive initiative to interview some 300 fleets to provide a comprehensive guide to the attitude of employers to the safety of their staff on the road.

The joint Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions and Health and Safety Commission work-related safety task group - charged with examining the level of road accidents involving 'at work' drivers - is asking 500 local authorities to each interview five fleets using a standard questionnaire to determine their approach to health and safety on the road.

It could lead to the creation of a 'Corporate Highway Code', which would provide specific advice to companies to supplement driver advice contained within the current Highway Code.

The task group is looking at both work-related road journeys that expose workers and others to risks from traffic, along with work-related activities carried out on or near roads that expose pedestrian workers to traffic.

Following its first meeting, it agreed that establishing the scale of the problem was its first priority - estimates say 300 road deaths a year involve 'at work' drivers - along with focusing on ways to prevent accidents. The meeting heard that working and driving lead to a 30% to 50% greater risk of accidents than driving alone. The ambitious bid to question so many fleets will also help the task group propose minimum safety management standards for employers and others.

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