CRYSTAL CLEAR COMPLIANCE – NOVEMBER BLOG
Road Safety Week – why is this relevant to you and your business?
This week is Road Safety Week in the UK. The initiative, which runs from Monday 18th November to Sunday 24th November, is organised by road safety charity Brake and is the biggest road safety awareness event in the UK. Every year, the event takes on a different theme. This year, the theme is ‘Step Up for Safe Streets’ which aims to get everyone – from schools and parents to the emergency services – to think about what they can do to make our roads and streets safer.
It’s a tragic reality that every 20 minutes someone is killed or seriously injured on a British road, yet each of these tragedies is, almost always, entirely preventable. We can all step up and play a part in the creation of safe streets – businesses included.
According to the RAC, at the end of June 2019, there were 38.7 million vehicles licensed for use on the roads in Great Britain, with 10% of these being registered company vehicles. Add to this, those who drive as part of their jobs in their own vehicles and the number of drivers on the UK roads every day for business is substantial. But what can we do? And what are our Health & Safety responsibilities when it comes to our employees out on the road?
Each and every company has a legal obligation and a duty of care to employees who drive a car as part of their work. These regulations are bound by the Health & Safety at Work Act 1974, which places a legal duty of care on all employers to ensure the health, safety and welfare at work of all their employees. From a legal viewpoint, a vehicle is considered to be a place of work, so employers have a duty of care to make sure that vehicles are fit for purpose and that drivers are as safe as possible whilst out on the road.
Every company should have in place policies and procedures for managing and reducing vehicle-related risks, including the on-the-road activities of employees. The company’s written vehicle policy should set out the rules for driving at work, the driver’s responsibilities and those of the company and it should be made available to all drivers who should sign to say that they have seen it.
Work-related road safety can only be effectively controlled if it is incorporated into managing the wider health and safety at work. For example, an employer should take account of the total number of hours worked, and not just the number of hours spent at the wheel, when planning driving schedules. Risk identification and management should also be considered. Companies need to look at what might happen, assess the impact of potentially damaging events and take steps to prevent the worst from arising.
There are several ways that companies can undertake a professional duty of care towards their drivers. This could include carrying out risk assessments, regular vehicle maintenance and checking procedures, in-vehicle driver training, e-training courses, medicals and driving licence checks, and the creation of manuals and policies, to name a few.
As we move into winter, and mornings and evenings get darker, I would encourage employers and managers to think about what more they could be doing to ensure the safety of their drivers, themselves and other road users. Think about what you do currently in your business. Could you ‘Step Up’ and do more?
If you would like any further information on your health and safety obligations or with creating policies that work for you and your business, contact me on 07748 860076 / 01536 770249 or email [email protected]