The Health and Safety at work Act 1974 requires employers to take appropriate steps to ensure the health and safety of their employees and others who may be affected by their activities when at work. This will include the time when people are driving or riding at work, whether in a company or hired vehicle, or in the employee’s own vehicle. To avoid prosecution under the Act an employer must take all reasonable steps to manage these risks and do everything reasonably practicable to protect people from harm as they would do in the workplace.
In order to successfully defend yourself from a prosecution under the Health And Safety at Work Act 1974 you should keep a record of the measures you have taken to provide a safe working environment, whether that is recording licence checks, insurance checks, vehicle road worthy checks, MOT’s, driver training and the signing off on your company driver handbook.
If you are a fleet manager or the Director of a company, you can also be sued as an individual, which will put your personal assets at risk, if your company is unwilling or unable to pay any legal costs or fines or awards.
We have discussed risk management and various other topics relating to your fleet insurance and how this affects your fleet insurance premium. As a whole we can refer to all these areas as fleet management. There are a number of methods available that will help you to manage your fleet and keep you compliant with Health and Safety laws. Also, a well managed fleet will attract discounts with most insurers and by investing time and resources in this area will result in an improvement in your claims history.
On another level, if a fleet manager does not even make the basic annual checks with regards to employees motoring convictions, you may find that in the event of an accident an insurer may refuse to pay a claim if it is subsequently discovered that the driver has a non disclosed motoring conviction on his licence.
Below we have summarised some additional risk management products, which will complement any of the essential checks you should already have in place to comply with health and safety law:-
Forward facing cameras –Can be a vital tool in helping to prove liability following an accident. This could help to speed up the claims process and as a result reduce claims costs.
Driver facing cameras – More likely to improve driver behaviour and promote safe driving. Used on their own they would be an effective tool to control driver behaviour, but combined with forward facing cameras could be a potent tool in reducing the number of claims and improving your claims experience.
Tracking systems – Effective in altering driver behaviour if they are monitored. More than your traditional tracking device which will locate your vehicle, an effective tracking system will monitor your drivers speed, cornering speed, acceleration and incidents of heavy braking. This will allow you to run reports which can be used in employee appraisals which can be carried out on a weekly or monthly basis. Information downloaded from your trackers could allow you to identify any alarming driving habits and behaviours and will allow you to target driver training accordingly. An additional benefit of fitting trackers to your vehicles is that over time you will usually see a reduction in your fuel bill. A good tracking system will allow you to monitor speeding, accelerating and braking and by focusing on these areas your miles per gallon will improve. Also, you will face lower bills for wear and tear on brakes and tyres etc.
Licence checking – Licence checking companies can conduct this service for you, for a small fee. This will help you to comply with your fleet insurance policy conditions and give you a record of your driver’s convictions allowing you to identify potential problem drivers. This should be carried out at least on an annual basis and preferably every 3 or 6 months.
Driver training – In certain cases there are no real alternatives to driver training. It is common that an insurer will insist that a driver with multiple claims will undertake driver training in order for them to continue to provide cover. A driver with a poor accident record could result in many thousands of pounds being added to your fleet insurance costs and also reputational damage which could result in the loss of custom.