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Fleets told to manage actual risk, not just compliance

Date: 13 May 2019   |   Author: Sean Keywood

Many employers fail to effectively manage driving risk on a day-to-day basis despite being compliant with work-related road safety legislation, it has been said. 

Michael Appleby, a health and safety lawyer from Fisher Scoggins Waters, made the claim at the first meeting of Fleet Service GB's new Achieve Driver Management User Group. 

Appleby said that many organisations went through a compliance 'tick box procedure', such as checking driving licences and encouraging defect checks, but failed to translate the information gathered into practical management.

He warned this could put them at risk of criminal prosecutions or civil actions in the event of a crash. 

He said: "Too many companies view road risk as managing compliance and not managing the risk itself. 

"Employers should have the basic elements of managing safety in place, but frequently there is very little actual day-to-day management.

"When things go wrong, businesses could be massively exposed because they do not have the answers to questions posed by investigators."

Appleby pointed out that business journey crashes - either in a company car or the employee's own - could be investigated by the police or Health and Safety Executive, and coroners, in the event of a fatality, could also be influential.

He highlighted how coroners now had a statutory duty to consider writing a Prevention of Future Deaths report to any organisation or person where they believed action should be taken to prevent future deaths.

"Coroners have a wide discretion as to the scope of an inquest," Appleby continued. 

"I can foresee the situation where there is a fatality in a work-related road crash and a coroner wants to enquire how a business is managing its vehicles and how data is being used to manage the fleet and drivers." 

Appleby also warned that employers could find themselves caught up in a work-related road safety investigation as a result of an associated incident. 

He said: "Investigators will want to know how a business manages safety and may find weaknesses in respect of managing vehicles, drivers and journeys that were a contributory factor to any incident.

"When I interview company directors and other employees the speed at which requested documents are produced is a good indication as to how well safety is managed in the business."

 



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