35 years delivering driver education.
The Scale of the Problem
It is now recognised that the management and monitoring of employees driving their own private vehicles on company business takes up far more management time than the traditional company car scheme.
It is estimated that in the UK approximately 5 million privately owned vehicles are being used on company business compared to 3 million company cars. This explains why the Duty of Care Legislation is applied to these vehicles and their drivers.
If your organisation permits employees to drive on company business their own privately owned vehicle this is an area that will require your attention.
Examples of such use will include, where teachers drive from their place of work (school) to attend meetings or training at an alternative school or venue. Many Governing Bodies of schools overlook this area of health & safety either because they believe it is the driver (or staff members) problem, or they realise the impact on budgets.
Ignoring this aspect of Health & Safety of the school can lead to potentially serious problems.
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Areas of Concern: (company means any organisation)
The Duty of Care Legislation applies to all vehicles used on behalf of a company or organisation regardless of how or who owns those vehicles or whether mileage allowance is being claimed.
There is a general misconception that organisations are not responsible for privately owned vehicles used on company business.
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UK's 1st Corporate Manslaughter Conviction:
Fleet decision-makers & schools are advised that if they haven’t already done everything they can to manage driver risk, now is the time to take note & implement policies & procedures.
This follows the announcement of the UK’s first criminal conviction & fine for corporate manslaughter. Cotswold Geotechnical Holdings been convicted for the death of 27-year-old geologist Alex Wright, who died in September 2008 when a trench in which he was working collapsed.
As a result his employer has been fined £385,000 – less than suggested by the Sentencing Guidelines Council but still a huge sum for a small company.
This is exactly the wake-up call that many organisations need. Despite years of advice & warnings, many companies are still under-protected when it comes to managing driver risk. As this case demonstrates, failure to do everything possible to keep employees safe can lead to appalling publicity and a massive fine.
Every organisation with employees who drive for work needs to carry out a comprehensive risk assessment and do whatever they can to reduce risk. Otherwise the next conviction we read about may well be for the unlawful death of a business driver. Managing fleet risk should now be at the top of the agenda for many organisations. It reduces costs, means drivers spend less time off the road and satisfies the organisation’s duty of care to its employees.
The Alex Wright case makes for shocking reading. According to the Crown Prosecution Service, Mr Wright’s death ‘would never have happened if Cotswold Geotechnical Holdings had properly protected him.’ No fleet should risk having the same said about it.”
With this in mind many organisations need to take action & implement policies & procedures to ensure that the health & safety of their on-road staff is addressed.
Health & Safety Risk Assessment Anomalies:
Schools are required to undertake risk assessment for many activities such as walking children to another nearby school. They are required to Identify the hazards, Decide who might be harmed and how & Evaluate the risks and decide on precautions.
However, very few if any schools or Education Authorities undertake similar risk assessments for private vehicles being used on school business.
Potential problems should be clear to those responsible for health & safety obligations within companies.
For further information or advice on the issues relating to use of Private Vehicle on Business please call our office and talk with:
Tel: 01452 347332 for more information.