Looked at in this light, a health and safety programme starts to make more sense.
Here we present some of the highlights of the guide’s three sections:Vehicles VEHICLES must be suitable and safe for employees and the type of business trips they are expected to undertake. All vehicles must be properly maintained to an acceptable and safe standard. There should be systems in place to ensure that all the planned maintenance has been carried out and documented. For example, has the driver been advised to check the oil level and tyre pressures and does he/she know how to carry out these checks? Drivers may be asked to complete a daily or weekly check log which can be kept in the vehicle ready for inspection. Employees should be provided with guidance on how to ensure that the maximum load weight for the vehicle is not exceeded. Any goods and equipment to be carried in the vehicle should also by properly secured. Employees need to be aware of the advice and support employers offer in the event of a breakdown and know how to get help if a problem arises. You will want to ensure that the incident was not a roadworthiness related matter. If it was, you will want to take steps to avoid similar situations from occurring in the future. Drivers YOU should ascertain whether your drivers have a valid licence to drive the vehicles. Special care should be taken to ensure the driver holds the appropriate class of licence, for example heavy goods vehicles, minibuses etc. Driving licences can be checked with the DVLA, provided that consent is gained from the employee under the Data Protection Act. It is not enough to simply carry out this validation at the time of recruitment. Regular checks are needed as a driver may subsequently be disqualified. It is advisable to check the licence of anyone who could be driving a company vehicle, eg a spouse or grown-up offspring. Checks should be made on an annual basis as a minimum. Drivers should know how to adjust seat and head restraints to find a safe and ergonomically sound driving position. If they carry loads, they need to be able to restrain and distribute them properly in the load area. You should ensure that your drivers, through a process of self-declaration, confirm that they are fit to drive. This should include confirmation that their eyesight meets the legal requirements outlined in the Highway Code. Many companies provide eye tests for employees who use computers regularly. A similar policy for those employees who drive regularly could be introduced. You should aim to ensure that employees do not drive a vehicle – whether on or off duty – in an unfit state due to the influence of alcohol or drugs or any other substances likely to impair driving. You should make it clear to them that such behaviour is unacceptable and against company policy. Employees taking medicines or prescribed drugs under the direction of their GP should be instructed to notify their immediate line manager. Driver training, in conjunction with other risk management solutions, can improve work road safety. Training programmes are normally conducted both in the classroom and in the company vehicle. The aim is to educate these drivers on how to improve their knowledge of road safety matters and minimise their exposure to risk and road accidents. They should be seen as complementary to your existing company measures aimed at improving work safety. You may wish to develop a selection process to help identify employees who would obtain the greatest benefits, or to put it another way, those employees who pose the greatest risk, such as high mileage drivers or those who have a high number of endorsements. You may also find it useful to review accident and insurance statistics to help you identify individuals or groups of staff who should attend these programmes. Employers should also provide advice on safe speeds, distraction, vehicle checks, journey planning and incident procedures. Recent Government research shows that falling asleep at the wheel could be a factor in 10% of all accidents and 20% of collisions on motorways. Worst times for falling asleep are on long monotonous journeys, between 2am and 6am, between 2pm and 4pm and on journeys home from night shifts. There is no specific legal guidance as to how many hours the driver of a van up to 3.5 tonnes gvw should drive without taking a break. However, the Highway Code recommends 15 minutes for every two hours on the road. Employers should ensure a clear policy is made to all drivers on company business with regard to mobile phones. Employers can be prosecuted for ‘causing or permitting’ the offence of using a hand-held phone. Drivers should be expected to report all road incidents while on business travel within 24 hours of the incident. Employers should, as a matter of course, keep details of all vehicle accidents and where appropriate carry out an investigation in order to establish the factors that led to the incident. This will enable the company to identify and correct operational weaknesses.
IF you provide schedules for your drivers or make it a requirement that they create their own, it is important to consider the following: