Fleets operators are finding it difficult to identify where their responsibilities lie for drivers on the road in company or private vehicles, despite advice published by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) in 2003, called Driving at Work.
Among the areas for confusion are what constitutes at-work driving.
The HSE produced its Driving at Work managing work-related road safety report last September. It said health and safety law should apply equally to 'on-the-road work activities' as to 'all work activities'.
Among companies fielding enquiries from fleets is Fleet News Award-winning driver training firm Peak Performance, which has produced the new guidelines.
Its director of risk management, Les Hammond, said: 'We have had numerous enquiries from companies asking what constitutes at-work driving under the new HSE guidance.'
It has identified three tests (see panel) that it says will define whether a company vehicle is involved in 'on-the-road work activities' and whether fleet managers have a duty of care to the driver. The tests cover areas of importance within the fleet arena – insurance, vehicle provision and health and safety.
'By applying these tests, companies will be able to make a decision as to whether they owe a duty of care to the driver and if the journey is covered by a duty of care,' Hammond said.
Fleets have to agree with all three questions from each test category to ensure they are complying with the HSE advice.
Hammond added: 'If any element of the driving activity can be construed as being at-work then a duty of care exists. Our view is that anyone who drives for work is subject to the Health and Safety at Work Act and adequate provision must be made.
'Whatever the driving activity, companies must be confident they have fully integrated driving into health and safety policies and have assessed their duty of care to the driver in a reasonable and practicable manner.'
Peak Performance says it is not meant to be an exhaustive list and companies must use their own judgement based on their own operating requirements.
Health & Safety test
Vehicle provision test