Fleet News

Employers face crackdown over fleet driver safety

POLICE forces are set to be ordered to take tougher action to prosecute employers who fail to meet their responsibilities under road traffic law.

This is one of the key recommendations of the influential Work-related Road Safety Task Group in its report on cutting fleet accidents.

The WRRSTG Report to Government and the Health and Safety Commission offers 18 recommendations, 11 primary and seven secondary, focused on using current health and safety legislation to have an immediate effect on fleet accident rates.

The report estimates that the cost of work-related road accidents totals £3.7 billion, of which £2.7 billion is shouldered by business, but it calls for police to implement more detailed accident report forms to create a clearer picture of the scale of work-related road incidents and for further research into the problem.

It also recommends a 'rigorous application' of existing health and safety legislation to on-the-road-work activities and says employers, based on a risk assessment of staff, should include measures to manage at-work road safety within their existing health and safety management systems, while ensuring that employees are competent to drive for work.

Specific guidance should be published to help companies, particularly small firms, potentially including grants to comply with the regulations.

But it said that following a review in spring 2004, if employers were not heeding their warnings, the Health and Safety Executive should introduce a code of practice, setting out the responsibilities of employers.

Details of the document emerged as Richard Dykes, chairman of the task group, warned delegates at the Fleet News UK Congress - 'if you think improving safety is expensive, try accidents'.

He said: 'Treat this issue as seriously as you would any other risk management issue in the business. Employers must look at the cost benefit equation of reducing accidents. The business case is unarguable and companies must take is seriously.'

  • Full analysis of the report in next week's issue of Fleet News. For subscription details, click here.

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