To manage the risk associated with the operation of the company vehicle fleet and meet their duty of care obligations, businesses need to ensure that their drivers are adequately educated, insured, safe and aware of dangers while out on the road.
Every business has a duty to make sure that its workplace is safe and to prevent risks to the health of its employees, and the definition of ‘workplace’ extends to the company vehicles that employees drive on business.
Therefore, businesses should regularly carry out a fleet risk assessment to ensure that, in using their company vehicles, they are compliant with the law and are meeting their duty of care and other legal obligations to their employees and other road users arising from that use.
What legislation applies?
Under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, employers have a duty to “ensure so far as is reasonably practicable the health, safety and welfare at work of all their employees”.
At the same time, the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1992 require a business to assess the risks their employees are exposed to at work and examine how these can be reduced.
Businesses with more than five employees must keep a record of this assessment – in the case of company vehicles, a fleet health risk assessment, and advise employees on the risks and how to reduce them.
A ‘competent person’, typically a company fleet or health and safety manager, needs to assess and implement any steps that need to be taken to reduce the risk, and a plan needs to be in place to identify, control and reduce these risks.
Fleet managers must therefore, by law, have a fleet risk management process in place covering all company vehicle drivers, including those employees who use their own vehicles on company business.
The Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007 dictates that companies and organisations, rather than individuals, can be found guilty of corporate manslaughter as a result of serious management failures resulting in a gross breach of a duty of care.
Where to start with a fleet risk assessment?
According to the Health and Safety Executive, the government department responsible for promoting safe working practices as well as investigating accidents, carrying out an effective risk assessment requires a number of steps:
identifying what can harm people in the workplace
identifying who might be harmed and how
evaluating the risks and deciding on the appropriate controls, taking into account those already in place
recording the risk assessment
reviewing and updating the assessment.
When thinking about a risk assessment, the HSE states that:
a hazard is anything that may cause harm, such as chemicals, electricity, working from ladders, driving vehicles and so on
the risk is the chance, high or low, that somebody could be harmed by these and other hazards, together with an indication of how serious the harm could be.
What are typical fleet risk management solutions?
There are a number of fleet risk management solutions that businesses might employ to reduce the risks their employees face while driving for business.
One option is to carry out an analysis of previous accidents that drivers have been involved in to establish whether there are trends evident, such as regular places, times or days when accidents are most likely to occur.
As well as identifying the causes of past problems, there are some general strategies that can be employed to reduce the likelihood of accidents. These include:
Reducing the overall level of driving for work through the use of video conferencing or conference calls and better planning of work journeys.
Reducing the number of hours and limiting the distance that can be driven without a break.
Using telematics to monitor hours driven and speeds travelled.
Specifying the latest driver safety systems on company vehicles, such as ABS, adaptive cruise control, lane departure warnings and collision avoidance systems.
Issue drivers with a checklist of regular vehicle safety checks that need to be completed before driving. Drivers then need to provide signed confirmation that the checks have been carried out.
Ensure vehicles are serviced regularly in line with manufacturer warranties.
Select vehicles with high marks in Euro NCAP safety tests.
Test drivers’ eyesight and driving licences regularly.
Implement driver training for the most at-risk drivers – those driving longest distances or most hours.
Introduce incentive schemes for careful driving or fewest accidents.
Consider employing an accident management company to collate information data on accidents and manage all accidents.
What role can accident management services play?
Managing the process around a road traffic accident or damage to a company vehicle can be a lengthy, frustrating and time-consuming affair.
And having drivers off the road for an unnecessary length of time can cost the business in terms of lost productivity and manpower. That’s where an established accident management service can play a key role in managing an accident to a successful outcome.
CLM’s accident management service uses specialist engineers to assess vehicle damage and decide upon the best, and quickest, way to manage it, with reducing the cost of repairs and minimising vehicle off-road time as key priorities.
Repairs are typically authorised within a few hours of receiving repairer estimates and progress is monitored until the vehicle is returned to the driver.
Risk management services provide the answer
One very effective solution can be to call in the experts and employ a firm of fleet risk consultants that specialise in helping businesses identify and manage the risks their operatives face.
They will carry out a detailed risk assessment of every aspect of the fleet to provide an all-encompassing approach to fleet risk that is comprehensive, thorough and designed to show up any deficiencies in the existing operation.
CLM provides a Fleet Risk Management service, that can help a business keep its fleet in check, its drivers safe and meet its duty of care.
A complete risk management solution, the CLM service encompasses preventative plans and reactive strategies to keep an organisation’s reputation safe.
Fleet audits, driver training and grey fleet safety checks all help improve safety, reduce accident rates and drive down insurance costs.
The service also helps comply with legal obligations by assessing business and driver risk profiles and building a bespoke package of risk management services to keep drivers safe and vehicles fit for purpose.
If you’d like to find out more about how CLM’s dedicated Risk Management service can help you keep your fleet safe, please get in touch.
CLM has over 40 years of experience in managing fleets of cars and commercial vehicles on behalf of our corporate customers. As a fleet management specialist, our goal is to run our customers fleet more efficiently and cost effectively.
CLM has almost 40 years of experience in managing fleets of cars and commercial vehicles on behalf of our corporate customers. As a fleet management specialist, our goal is to run our customers fleet more efficiently and cost effectively.