Fleet managers must manage “unsafe behaviours and unsafe conditions”
Fleet managers must manage “unsafe behaviours and unsafe conditions” and implement a policy that limits the impact of both on their vehicle operations, Ian Brooks, a founding member of FIAG said in a seminar addressing driver management, insurance and training.
“Unsafe acts happen just before an accident, but there are also workplace and organisational factors that can be influential,” said Brooks, a former Metropolitan Police chief inspector and director of Oscar Strategic Consulting.
Highlighting that fleet managers must have in place investigative risk management processes that enable driver behaviour and organisational factors to be examined in detail, Brooks said: “What you look for is what you find and what you find is what you fix.
“If fleet managers get to grips with both through driver assessment, driver training and vehicle selection they will reduce the contribution of unsafe acts and increase their defences.”
Brooks highlighted that the Health and Safety Executive had recently published a revised version of its long-established ‘Driving at work: managing work-related road safety’ guidance, which now followed “plan, do, check and act” methodology.
“Having a plan, implementing it and checking it is strongly recommended. It is crucial to reducing risk,” said Brooks.
It’s a view shared by Michael Appleby, a health and safety lawyer and partner in London-based Bivonas, who urged fleets to be proactive in their approach to at-work driving safety and added: “Until recent years work-related road risk was not seen by lawyers as an issue, but times change.
“Reputational risk is critical to companies as well as managing occupational road risk so it is important to remind employees of their responsibilities and ensure they engage with the measures being taken.”
Driver risk management expert Andy Neale, co-founder of the NFE Group, which includes Automotional, said implementing a driver risk management programme met employers’ responsibilities under health and safety and road traffic legislation, showed they cared about employees and was financially prudent.
Highlighting that training delivered a wealth of benefits including improved fuel economy, he added: “Many companies only train their drivers after they have been involved in a crash because they object to the investment in training on cost and time grounds and so are not proactive.
“But employers must take a holistic approach. There is a wealth of evidence to show that training makes business sense.”
- The HSE guidance is available as a free download from http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/indg382.pdf