Graham Hurdle's blog: 27 July 2011 - Who can advise on at-work driving?
27 July 2011
Graham Hurdle is managing director of E-Training World
If you read the trade press you will see company after company saying things like "All our drivers go through stringent training" or "We have a robust driver training programme in place".
So are these companies really investing in driver training or are they just saying they are?
The reality is that I'm heavily involved in the driver training sector, and I'll be the first to say that there is a big gap between what companies are 'saying' they are doing and what they are 'actually' doing when it comes to duty of care.
The harsh reality is that if the surveys which tell us that a huge proportion of fleet managers see risk management as their number one priority are true then you'd find it very hard to book a fleet trainer in the coming weeks because they'd all be overloaded with work. But try it for yourself because loads of them are readily available for work.
So why do companies say that they have robust driver risk management systems in place if they don't?
Maybe it's because, like any health and safety topic, you can't turn round and say you do very little. That's almost a corporate taboo to admit that.
So maybe it's that many companies don't truly understand what they should be doing. Perhaps they think that a quick check of a photocopied driving licence is enough?
Who knows, but I regularly come across businesses that say they have everything in place, but I can see that they are actually doing very little.
So how are you managing your at-work road risk? Let me ask you some questions and you've got to promise to answer them truthfully.
What do you do when a member of staff becomes too ill to continue at work? - Send them home in a taxi or let them drive themselves home?
Do you conduct return to work interviews following sick leave? - If you do, do you ask the employee if they are taking medication that would affect their ability to drive?
Does your company investigate crashes and provide remedial training?
OK, I'll stop there but these are just a few of the things I have found most companies are not doing, despite them saying they have 'at work driving' fully covered.
The problem is a lack of knowledge. When people like me try to discuss what companies should be doing, fleet managers simply think we are just trying to scare them to sell our services.
The other problem is every man and his dog thinks they are an expert and can give advice. Take a look at websites of those experts and you will be forgiven for thinking all you need to do, to comply with your duty of care, is provide defensive driver training.
The truth is managing at work driving risk is more than providing a half day in vehicle training every few years, it is about having workable policies and procedures that are adhered to every day.
Before you all start jumping up and down, saying we don't have the time or money to manage our risk fully, you don't have to do everything at once. Although the sooner you start the sooner you will save money and lives. I promise it won't cost as much as you think, but don't take my word for it, after all I might just want to sell our services.
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