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YOUNG AT HEART: Contradictions in risk management

Date: 29 May 2009

Tristan Young is Editor-in-chief of BusinessCar

The past few weeks have seen three risk management stories converge, and the Government seems to contradict itself in all cases.

Road safety minister Jim Fitzpatrick last month launched a 120-page consultation document with the aim of cutting Britain's road deaths by one third, or 1000, to 2000 a year. By coincidence this is the same number of deaths that are claimed to happen while drivers are on work business. So why does the consultation only dedicate half a page to driving for work?

The consultation arrived just as the DVLA cut funding for its electronic driving licence checking system that would have helped fleets maintain their duty of care obligations. After all, the DfT recommends employers check driving licences when staff join, and then at six-monthly intervals.

Topping the contradictions off in the past week we've now seen the police, who are increasingly investigating work-related road deaths, reveal worrying figures for the number of their officers killed due to sleep- or tired-driving on their commute.

Mind you, the fleet 'bible' on business driving, the HSE's Driving at Work document, contradicts itself in this area too.

On page 3, the guide specifically excludes commuting. Yet on page 21 it says: "Health and safety law requires employers and the self-employed to ensure so far as reasonably practical the health, safety and welfare of all employees and to safeguard others who may be put at risk from their work activities."

With such mixed messages, how on earth are fleets supposed to know what they should be doing?