Fleet News

Fleet safety fears over accident law

FLEET safety groups have reacted with dismay to a decision that work-related road accidents are not to be included in RIDDOR, the compulsory reporting system concerning employee injuries.

They say its omission in the Health and Safety Commision review – citing the cost and administrative burden it would place on employers as a key reason – sends a signal to employers that at-work road safety is less important than other forms of employee wellbeing.

The Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurences Regulations 1995 (RIDDOR) obliges firms to report accidents to employees resulting in them being off ill for more than three days.

Despite a large postbag from fleet industry stakeholders asking for inclusion in RIDDOR, following the review the HSC felt that better publicity and communication in conjunction with the Department for Transport, rather than more bureaucracy, was the best approach.

A review of the legislation has been running for more than a year and poses the question of whether at-work driving should be included alongside other employee accident reporting issues.

In 2001, the Work-Related Road Safety Task Group recommended that at-work road accidents be included in the regulations.

However, a senior policy advisor for the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) told Fleet News that the review concluded that it was better for the police to investigate crashes and contact the HSE if it thought there was employer liability, rather than fleets being obliged to report accidents. The review felt the cost and administrative burden out-weighed the benefits of adding it to the reporting structure.

He added: ‘If companies manage road risk badly, it is a health and safety issue and we do recognise that. But we have an arrangement with the police where they take the lead and we become involved as necessary.’

Critics have claimed that the HSE does not have the resources or the political willpower to take on such a large and complicated area of employee safety.

Roger Bibbings, occupational safety advisor for RoSPA, said: ‘This was a prime opportunity to send a signal to the senior management of companies that they have to do something about at-work road risk and it has been missed.’

An ACFO spokesman added: ‘ACFO doesn’t really have a view on whether at-work road crashes should be part of RIDDOR but we believe driving should be a part of any good health and safety practice at work and not just part of some prescriptive legislation.’

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