If you’ve found that the mileage accrued by your company’s vehicles has been steadily increasing, and that the fleet itself has expanded, it is time to give serious consideration to a work-related road safety policy.
As the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) puts it, ‘organisations have a legal duty to put in place suitable arrangements to manage health and safety’. As vehicles driven in the course of work duties become an extension of the workplace, such arrangements should also cover employees on the road.
Using the HSE’s Plan, Do, Check and Act approach, here’s how you can implement an employee road safety policy into your day to day health and safety practices. Using it, you should be able to assess whether you need to improve safety measures in your vehicles (see Brigade Electronics for the range of devices available) or introduce regular driver training.
- Assess the potential risks and hazards posed by driving to the public, your organisation and the people who work for it.
- Create a driver safety policy that covers best practice, driver training and vehicle upkeep.
- Ensure there is management buy-in of the policy so that a commitment is made by all parts of the business.
- Empower those responsible for executing the policy so that they can influence and communicate with the employees it directly affects and protects.
- Make sure departments with varying responsibilities for the road safety policy work together.
- Put in place the correct procedures and systems so that the policy can be followed and managed, such as manufacturer-recommended vehicle maintenance checks.
- Involve your employees in decisions relating to the policy and best practice.
- Provide regular driver safety training.
- Monitor performance to make sure the road safety policy is followed and, importantly, works.
- Encourage your employees to report any accidents and near misses – these should then be logged and the policy reviewed to ensure any blind spots or oversights are covered.
- Collect plenty of information so that you can make informed decisions about the true effectiveness of the policy and any amendments needed. You should focus especially on identifying those most exposed to risk.
- Regularly review the policy with company vehicle users to make sure it’s up to standard.
As an employer, you’re responsible for making sure risks to and potentially posed by your company’s road users are identified and prevented. You might want to employ a vehicle fleet manager or designate the task to someone else – but they must have the right skills, knowledge and experience to carry out the role, they must involve workers in the process and they must understand when specialist input is required .
Hazards that may cause injury or worse to either your employees or the public must be identified. Gather as much input from your employees as possible on this, as they’ll understand the sorts of challenges and conditions they face when out on the road.
Get the views of both those who drive often as well as those who drive infrequently. And always make the driver, the vehicle and the journey the key pillars of any policy change.
Get the TUC’s take on road health and safety here.