The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 states that you must ensure, so far as reasonably practicable, the health and safety of all employees while at work.
This means, you have to ensure that your vehicles are safe and roadworthy, that your drivers are safe and roadworthy and that, in short, you have a proper risk management strategy.
Where to start
The best place to start when setting out a Fleet Risk Strategy is the Health and Safety Executive’s (HSE) Driving at Work document. This summarises both the law and how you can meet its requirements. You can measure your current performance – and identify how to overcome any shortfalls.
Some important themes that emerge from the HSE’s Driving at Work document include:
Risk management isn’t something that can be done every so often. It has to be part of a company’s everyday work. For instance, vehicle checks – encompassing everything from brakes to windscreen wipers – should be performed on a daily basis.
Risk management involves more than just the vehicles that are owned or leased by a company. It involves the ‘grey fleet’ vehicles that belong to an employers drivers – that are driven for work purposes (excluding commuting). The HSE recommends check-ups and training initiatives for even the most infrequent business drivers.
Everything should be recorded and reviewed. That way, you’ll always have the relevant information for making the right choices about your company’s health and safety policy – and to convince others within your organisation.
Size doesn’t matter
It’s important to note that these requirements aren’t just for big corporations with big compliance teams. The law doesn’t distinguish between big or small business – and if anything, smaller companies have more to lose from not thinking about risk management – and the fines, penalties and reputational damage that could arise from any incidents.
Safer drivers, safer vehicles, safer journeys
The good news is that fleet risk management needn’t be a burden. In fact, it should save companies both time and money. Not only does it protect against fines and penalties, it also keeps your vehicles in good condition, thereby reducing fuel bills, maintenance costs and general downtime.
More importantly, fleet risk management is about more than the bottom line – it’s about the wellbeing of your workforce, along with everyone else on the roads. With Department for Transport figures suggesting that around a quarter of all road casualty incidents involve someone who was driving as part of their work – we can all help to get that number down.
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