Managing driver safety in the workplace – do we really have to do this?

In my line of work I often hear; ‘I didn’t realise it was a legal requirement to manage driver safety’ or, ‘how come I’ve not heard of this before’?

To be honest, I’m never surprised when I hear this and as a business, it’s okay to not know this stuff, after all, ‘we don’t know what we don’t know’, right? In fact, in one sense, that’s good, probably because nothing bad has happened insofar as a serious road traffic accident, therefore you won’t have been challenged to demonstrate the appropriate due diligence that’s required under the Health & Safety at Work Act.

Just think for one moment and ask, if we were to suffer a serious incident involving someone who drives on behalf of the business, and we were under investigation right now, can we say with 100% certainty that everything is in place that would be required of us to manage driver safety? Not sure, here is a link to my media page, watch the 6-minute video, ‘When things go wrong’, imagine you in the interview seat!

I’m guessing for many their thoughts would go along the lines of, what are we supposed to have in place, is everything up to date, who’s responsibility is this in our business? The last question is easy for me to answer, it’s the owner of the business, the controlling mind/s of that business in other will be held accountable and ultimately, responsible, so, it’s very important that such people are confident of their processes and practices to manage driver safety are firmly in place and more importantly, part of the business day to day safety culture.

Just to focus the mind a little further, it might be worth exploring what the consequences are when things go wrong, well, apart from the obvious concern for the safety and wellbeing of staff that is. There are two potential nasties that could appear. The first is a fine for failing to meet duty of care obligations under health and safety law, typically 20% of the businesses turnover, then if it’s a really serious incident, the business owner could face Corporate Manslaughter or Gross Negligence Manslaughter charges which are likely to result in a custodial sentence.

Incidents involving crashes, including those that involve people driving as part of their work rarely make the news headlines, but, you don’t have to search very far before you can find examples of where things went horribly wrong, for instance, this link will take you to an article about a company that in 2020 were fined £750,000, all because they didn’t have a robust driver risk management programme in place and as a result, two members of their staff lost their lives.

So where is it stated then that driver safety must be managed? – good question, well, it’s the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) that issue guidelines that must be followed, and here is a link in those guidelines to the legal bit. 

If you have everything in place that’s in these guidelines, great, you will certainly be able to sleep at night and if necessary, demonstrate appropriate due diligence. If however you haven’t, what you do next will be down to your attitude towards risk. Some might simply say, ‘don’t think anything bad will happen to us’ and carry on a usual, hopefully they won’t end up in Court like the company that got that massive fine!

Alternatively, you might have a low-risk threshold and want to do everything you can, not just as a responsible employer, but to meet your health and safety requirements. A great starting point is to study the HSE guidelines, however, if you would like some help in navigating your way through towards introducing a driver risk management programme within your business, could I tempt you to get in touch for a no-obligation, no pressure chat? Here is a link to my contact form.