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BusinessCar Office Blog: 29 May 2009 - Not naming, but shaming

Date: 29 May 2009   |   Author:

BusinessCar Office, yesterday

The names will be withheld to protect the guilty, but I've got a little tale for you about how bits of the real world take almost no interest in protecting staff driving for work.

My girlfriend works for a very prominent high street clothing brand, which I'm obviously not going to name given the way they manage their road risk.

Recently she was sent on secondment to another store more than two hours drive from our flat. Sorting out this struggling store meant longer hours than normal three days in a row, plus the extended commute. She had to be there for 7.30am, and left again at 6.30pm, with a good two hours on either end of that. And on one occasion she was giving two other members of staff a lift back.

Lets start with the simple stuff. It's not her permanent place of work, but at no point did the firm ask whether she has business insurance for her private car (she doesn't), and they haven't even bothered with the simple stuff like whether she's even got a driving licence (she has), let alone the car's roadworthiness, age, service history or appropriateness for carrying other members of staff.

Then there's the lack of interest in the issue of forcing staff to drive when tired. Making an employee get up at 4.30am to leave home at 5.30 for a two-hour drive to work, hammer full pelt all day in a retail environment then hit rush hour traffic until 8.30 at night three days in a row wouldn't look great in court should the unthinkable happen. In fact it'd be exactly the case everyone's waiting for to start the ball rolling. Something as simple as overnight accommodation or even using the trains would have minimised risk exposure, and for minimal cost, but neither were offered.

It's amazing, and really worrying, that such a well-known high street name takes such little interest in cutting the risks its staff are exposed to. How many others are in the same boat every single day?

As you'll see soon, next week's BusinessCar includes both news and analysis of this issue of risk and exposure. Make sure your policies are in place.