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Employers need to do more to fulfil duty of care obligations

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Employers have an awareness of their responsibilities when it comes to employees who drive for work, but more still needs to be done, says Specsavers Corporate Eyecare.

The company asked more than 120 heads of companies, representing more than 99,000 employees, what they thought came under their duty of care as employers. Of those surveyed:

  • 82% believe ensuring all drivers have a full and current driving licence comes under their duty of care
  • 79% believe ensuring all company cars are taxed, insured and maintained, comes under their duty of care
  • With 70% believing this for employees’ own cars, used for work purposes.

In fact, as all work activities come under an employer’s duty of care, they have a responsibility for all of these areas.

Specsavers Corporatye Eyecare said 74% of the employers surveyed stated they believe ensuring an employee has adequate eyesight for driving is part of their duty of care as an employer.

Suzanne Randall, corporate account manager for Specsavers Corporate Eyecare, said: ‘We have been working hard to convey the message that employers must take responsibility for their drivers.

“This must include not only checking documents and maintaining vehicles but also ensuring that employees themselves are fit to drive and have adequate eyesight.

“Even taking our communication efforts into account, we were pleasantly surprised by how many employers now understand that drivers’ eyesight comes under their duty of care.”

The results still leaves 8% of the employers surveyed who believe they have no duty of care whatsoever when it comes to employees who drive for work purposes.

The other figures leave 18% of employers surveyed not taking responsibility for checking drivers’ licences, 21% not looking after company cars and 30% taking no responsibility for checking the taxing, insuring and maintenance of their grey fleet.

Added to this, more than a quarter (27%) of employers surveyed believe an employee using their own car to drive to a work-related meeting, does not come under their responsibility at all.

More than a quarter (26%) still do not believe it is their responsibility to check their employees can see clearly to drive.

Randall added: “While 74% of the employers surveyed believe it comes under their responsibility to check driver eyesight is a hugely positive figure, it still leaves more than a quarter of employers not aware of their full responsibility.

“We will not be content until 100% of employers know it is their responsibility to ensure that their drivers are fully fit to drive.

“Being able to read a number plate from 20 metres on the day of the driving test remains the main check of a driver’s vision.

“We feel the employer can go further and play a significant role in ensuring their driver's continue to have the required standards of vision.

“We are here to support them in doing so and hope that we will continue to see a rise in employers understanding of the advantages that could be seen by them, their organisation and their employees.”

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