The law in most countries states that employers have a duty of care to keep their staff members as safe as is reasonably practicable. This does not just apply when they’re in the office, but also extends to when employees are driving work vehicles.
Car accidents can happen at any time, so it’s important to do everything you can to minimise the risk of one happening to your work drivers.
So what can you and your business do to help keep those behind the wheel safe?
Right vehicle, right driver
When your business is choosing the vehicles it wants to use as part of its fleet, there’s a lot to consider. Safety is always going to be a top priority, but there are other considerations, including price and space, that will affect a decision.
One factor affecting the safety and even the economy of a vehicle is the person driving it. You should ensure you know exactly what driving qualifications your drivers have and whether you need to invest in further training for them.
Take advantage of technology
Fleet managers are increasingly able to take advantage of telematics to improve the use of their vehicles. Giving managers the ability to view and analyse data produced by drivers lets them evaluate where exactly they need to make improvements.
Telemetry gives managers the ability to see where drivers are using too much fuel and speeding. This allows them to potentially make decisions on who should be driving and how they may need to change their driving style to increase fuel economy. Reasons for break downs and failures can also be identified in certain cases, making it easier to maintain and repair vehicles.
The careful planning of routes gives your business the opportunity to evaluate exactly where you might come across problems. There are a great deal of factors that come into play when planning routes, though.
Weather, road maintenance and break downs can all have significant impacts on journey times and safety. That means that when you’re planning a major journey, you’ll need to consider the forecast and check with the various highway networks to find out where the major roadworks are happening. Newer satellite navigation and GPS tools can alert drivers in real time where these issues are, so it could be worth investing in them.
Carrying out a risk assessment on your vehicles and drivers is a good idea. Choose an appropriate person to conduct the assessment – someone with a strong knowledge of motor vehicles and mechanics is the best option. You’ll need to know your drivers’ work history, so you might want to set out some minimum standards for them to meet.
You’ll also want to put in place minimum standards for your work vehicles to meet. If they don’t reach this, then it’s time to start thinking about replacing your current fleet. And when the time comes for new vehicles, you’ll have a new list of things to start thinking and worrying about.