There are always risks associated with driving and for employers whose workforce is on the road or regularly involved in moving vehicles around, health and safety concerns are considerable and not to be underestimated. Although not every driving hazard and risk can be completely controlled, fleet operators must assume responsibility and take all reasonable steps when it comes to protecting the health and safety of their workforce.
Reducing road and traffic accidents at work
When driving is ‘part of the job’, it becomes so synonymous with what drivers do every day, that the risks and hazards of driving can become lost.
Humans make mistakes which can lead to road traffic collisions. In recent years, there has been a growing tide of opinion that ‘road traffic accident’ is no longer a term for the modern age. No traffic collision is an ‘accident’ but a set of circumstances made worse by human error that leads to a collision. The suggestion is, that accidents on our roads should and could be avoided.
No matter what you think about that particular argument, there is no denying in terms of health and safety that driver skill and attitude play in role in how we drive. From speeding to tailgating, professional drivers can sometimes suffer a reputation as being reckless in the pursuit of completing their daily tasks.
Thus, there are several health and safety initiatives that fleet operators can become involved in to safeguard their drivers. Roadsafe is a charitable partnership that aims to reduce deaths on the road. Similarly, Driving Better for Business (DFBB), a government-backed initiative, aims to reduce work-related road risks in both the private and public sector.
Driver skills and training
At one time, providing an employee was over a certain age and insurable, they were given the keys to company vehicles – vans, minibuses and light goods vehicles – and away they went. There was no formal training.
Over time, driving licence changes mean that when people pass their driving test today, they do so for a car only. To drive larger vehicles, they are expected to be trained and pass tests, such as towing test so the category can be added to their licence.
However, health and safety also recognise that like other skills in the workplace, driving skills need to be assessed, measured and improved. When a driver doesn’t own a vehicle, they may be tempted to take ‘less care’ of it.
The same is true for driving other vehicles. Drivers need to be trained and pass a test to be competent in driving everything from JCBs to mush shifters.
Continuing professional development for drivers is not just part of improving their skill set but also an integral part of health and safety. With the knowledge that drivers are trained and regularly assessed to help improve their driving skills, employees are being invested in.
Appropriate steps as per the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974
Under this act, employers are required to take appropriate and reasonable steps to ensure the health and safety of their employees, and others who may be affected by what they do. Applied to fleet operators, this makes perfect sense. As well as protecting their employees, continuing professional development and developing the standards of health and safety protects the public too.
How can we help you?
If you are in need of assistance with any aspect of Health and Safety management, here at Synergos we’d be delighted to help. Whether you have questions or are looking for advice and support to maintain standards, call 01484 666160 or Email firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll be happy to talk it over with you.