Fleet News

TUC vote puts fleet safety first

THE Trades Union Congress is mobilising thousands of union members to demand companies make at-work road safety a top priority.

The historic decision was made at last week's TUC Congress in Blackpool and has come with a warning that it is time companies take driver safety seriously. An official code of practice that employers should follow for at-work drivers will be drawn up by the TUC following the meeting.

The TUC is the umbrella organisation for more than 70 unions representing seven million workers, and can exert massive influence on UK companies if it so desires. Members of the TUC were involved with the Work-related Road Safety Group, whose report recommended Government action to improve driver safety.

But amid official refusals to consider regulations on fleet safety, the TUC is to train its 14,000 safety representatives to examine their companies' at- work driving risk assessment strategies, and to force higher standards in safety for fleets.

Speaking at the Congress, Tom Mellish, health and safety policy officer for the TUC, claimed that no single organisation was taking responsibility for the issue, and it was time somebody did. He said: 'There are 1,000 at-work deaths a year on the roads, and that is just an estimate.

'There is nobody managing this risk and nobody is taking this issue seriously enough.

'It is a case of 'out of sight, out of mind.' We are trying to raise awareness of this issue and we are asking trade unions to take the issue seriously.

'What we are aiming to do at the TUC is establish a training programme for safety representatives. There will be a section on occupational road risk and we will be planning it out over the next few months.'

The training scheme will be launched in January and aims to significantly raise the profile of driver safety among employers during regular safety audits. Mellish said taking action from within companies would be more productive than outside bodies attempting to take action.

The Health and Safety Executive welcomed the move by the TUC, commenting that there was little for it to do, as employers seemed to be taking action.

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