Informa Markets

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October 23, 2014

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The five essential elements of driver risk management


Do your staff drive on business? If so there are certain activities that all employers must undertake as part of their duty of care under current health and safety at work legislation.

1. Employer Risk Assessment

Under the Management of Health & Safety at Work Regulations, employers are required by law to carry out a written assessment of the risk involved in asking staff to drive on business – risk both to the drivers and other road users.

2. Safer Driver Policy

This sets out the rules that your drivers must follow and includes things like your rules on mobile phone use, guidance for vehicle checks and alcohol awareness. It also needs to explain your employees’ responsibilities for driving safely, informing you of collisions and convictions, and making sure they understand why they will need to have business cover added to their private motor insurance if they ever use their own car for a business journey. The policy must be detailed, comprehensive and robust – one or two pages of bullet points is not sufficient. Happy with your policy? It then needs communicating effectively to all drivers to make sure they understand what standards are expected. A handbook is a good idea but you may also like to supplement this with monthly emails or toolbox talks to reinforce their awareness in specific areas.

3. Licence Monitoring

Employers MUST check that their drivers are correctly licenced to drive the vehicle in question and that they do not have any convictions, restrictions or disqualifications that mean they shouldn’t be driving. Many companies visually check driving licences on joining, or even annually but this is often not considered a sufficiently compliant activity in court due to the potential for fraud. Employers should look to monitor licences on a regular basis directly against the DVLA database.

4. Driver Risk Assessment

Employers should risk profile their drivers to ensure competence (especially where new recruits or graduates are concerned) and to assess whether drivers may be at greater risk from driving higher mileages, the types of road they use, the times of day they commonly drive and the length of their working day as well as many other variables such as their job role and the type of vehicle they drive.

5. Record Keeping

Finally it is absolutely essential to have a solid audit trail. In the event of a serious collision, the police will want to see adequate record keeping for all of the above activities in relation to the driver concerned.

Get the above activities sorted out and you’ll be well on your way to being a compliant business.

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

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9 years ago

I don’t recall seeing this in the Management of H&S Regulations: ’employers are required by law to carry out a written assessment of the risk involved in asking staff to drive on business’. The Regs actually require employers to consider the risks and assess any they consider as significant risks, and is not as specific, nor as black/white as you imply This is a complex subject and as such any assertions you make should be backed up with evidence/caselaw e.g. relating to license checking, police actions for those without adequate record keeping etc. (not that they enforce Mgmt Regs) I… Read more »

Simon Turner
Simon Turner
9 years ago
Reply to  Kevin

You are right that the Regs actually require employers to consider the risks and assess any they consider as significant risks – however business driving is now widely regarded as THE most significant risk that employees face. Around 1700 fatalities per year, of which a third are thought to be business drivers) vs less than 150 workplace deaths per year. In addition, over 20,000 drivers suffer serious life changing injuries and a further 170,000 suffer minor injuries that still require hospital treatment. Again a third of these are thought to be business drivers. As the car is now treated as… Read more »

9 years ago
Reply to  Simon Turner

I don’t think anyone would disagree over the basic premise: that employees who drive a lot for business need to be looked at, however the blanket implication that ‘all employers’ must do XYZ is unhelpful …and on the advice of lawyers? The legal profession see risk everywhere as that’s their business, they’re generally not very good at saying what exactly to do in order to mitigate or avoid risk, or when they do take that risk they go way over the top (someone will sue them!) You’re not really helping matters with inaccurate and unreferenced figures on road deaths and… Read more »

Nigel Dupree
Nigel Dupree
9 years ago

All very well but seams rather light on critical human factors you know, like, testing eyesight and ensuring their working times are structured and routinely allow for breaks sufficient to minimise the risk of “fatigue” recognising the debilitating effects on performance are significantly higher than a comparable level of alcohol that would pass a roadside breath test !!!!!

Simon Turner
Simon Turner
9 years ago
Reply to  Nigel Dupree

The factors you mention should be covered as part of the company’s safe driving policy and communicated to the driver via a driver handbook. Human factors are indeed critical as many collisions are the result of poor driver awareness and education. We would recommend some form of driver awareness workshop from a professional training agency or an internal toolbox talk from a manager to reinforce the most important parts of the safe driving policy.