Fleet News

BSI chief says drivers sold short on safety

BRITAIN'S army of company vehicle drivers are being sold short by employers who are not doing enough to meet their duty of care.

The way forward is to ensure that there is a fully-effective, flexible, up-to-date monitoring and reporting system to cover all mobile staff, which is robust and regularly audited.

The solution was recommended by John Lennox, a transport expert for the British Standards Institute (BSI), which is behind the charge that Britain's companies are not doing enough about road safety.

Ultimately, Lennox revealed, the BSI aims to set new national and European standards for health and safety in transport.

He said: 'Presently, the mobile workforce – which covers sales staff, company representatives and van drivers – by the nature of their jobs have low visibility and as a result is not seen as a high priority in terms of health and safety by businesses and other organisations.'

He said it was vital that ownership of a safety system comes from the very top of an organisation. Eventually, the buck stops there.

Company policy must be unequivocal in its support of safe working practices for the mobile workforce and effectively communicated to staff,' he said. However, because everyone has a role to play, reviewing company systems should include input from all levels of staff.

Lennox added: 'Not only will such a system protect companies from costly law suits and insurance claims but also it would mean they comply with contemporary legislation and, most importantly, keep employees safe.'

Companies might complain that all this will cost a great deal of money, but the BSI claims this approach means that safety improves the bottom line.

Lennox added: 'Benchmarking repair costs, hire car costs and downtime for each part of the organisation can help management to focus on individual or groups of people who are prone to collisions.

'They can introduce retraining and education schemes to reduce accident rates, keeping people safe while driving costs down at the same time.'

Founded in 1901, the BSI Group is now a global company made up of five complementary business units, covering British Standards, business information, management systems, product services, which includes the Kitemark, and its inspectorate business.

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