Informa Markets

Author Bio ▼

Safety and Health Practitioner (SHP) is first for independent health and safety news.
May 15, 2013

Get the SHP newsletter

Daily health and safety news, job alerts and resources

SHE 2013: Driving at work the number-one safety risk

Businesses need to assess the risks presented by drivers and driving at work for a very simple reason: it is the single biggest safety risk most organisations face.

This was the message Roger Bibbings, of RoSPA, issued to an audience of safety practitioners during a panel discussion on driver risk assessment in the Business Driver Safety Zone. He added that the risk would only grow as the country moves increasingly to a road-mobile services-based economy.

Introducing the discussion, Fleet21 director Simon Turner outlined how there are around 2000 deaths on UK roads every year, around a third of which are work-related involving business drivers.

Bibbings added that not only should driving be number one on the health and safety management risk register, but risk needs to consider several elements, notably the driver, the vehicle, and driving tasks. And he singled out the line manager as the person who needs to be helped to assess the risks and understand the component parts involved.

John Lawrence JP lamented the lack of communication between drivers and senior managers in organisations, adding that they often only get involved when things go wrong, with directors who find themselves in the dock following a driving-at-work prosecution often pleading ignorance.

Wayne Walton of drugs and alcohol testing company Alere Toxicology highlighted that out of 10 million tests it carries out every year, about 6 per cent are found to be positive, with the figure rising to 8.3 per cent in logistics companies.

“When you tell people you are going to start checking them, there’s often a backlash. So the important thing is communication: be clear and get people engaged,” he explained.

Bibbings echoed Walton’s view, stressing that employers have a duty to consult with staff and health and safety is only something that can be done with people, not to them.

Moving on to the area of training, Andrew Bayne, from a2om, suggested that in-car driver training is simply too costly and could result in those undergoing the learning simply “faking good”, i.e. doing things by the book on the course, even though they wouldn’t behave in the same manner in the normal course of their driving.

Bibbings stressed that training must be tailored to the needs of the driver and the gaps in their competence, while the focus for young drivers must be around their attitudes.

Company boards, he added, need to be presented with in-depth findings of investigations and reports to ensure they understand the real risks in their business and help them “drive the talk”.

Driving for Better Safety - Free eBook download

This eBook will guide you through some of the key understandings you need to be able to manage driver safety effectively and, at the end, provide a series of free resources you can access to help you ensure your own driver safety management system is robust, legally compliant and in line with industry-accepted good practice.

Download this eBook from Driving for Better Business and SHP to cover:

  • Why do we need to manage driver safety?
  • Duty of care – a shared responsibility;
  • Setting the rules with a driving for work policy;
  • Managing driver safety;
  • Ensuring safe vehicles;
  • Safe journeys and fitness to drive;
  • Record keeping;
  • Reporting;
  • The business benefits of good practice;
  • Additional resources

Related Topics

Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments