Friday, 11 July 2008

Corporate Manslaughter and Driving at Work

This could be a biggie.

Or it could just disappear like much of this legislation as no judge wants to be the first to hand down a sentence.

The fact is that there's loads of legislation to safeguard drivers at work, but until recently the fact that your driver had a license and was insured, and the vehicle was safe and legal was all that employers looked at.

With recent focus shifting to training and Health and Safety, the ambulance chasing "no win, no fee" solicitors have started getting in on the act, leading to more prosecutions of companies who haven't risk assessed or trained their drivers.

If a company employs a 17 year old who has just passed their test in a Corsa to drive a 3.5 tonne long wheel base van, would you expect them to take some time to risk assess and train this driver?

So would I.

In many small companies this is done by the company owner - all informally and to be honest this often works reasonably well. All that is needed for this kind of company is for the "risk assessment" to be formalised and recorded and for the training to be agreed and successful in proving that the driver is now safe in the vehicle.

In larger companies this process is taken in hand by the fleet or HR management, who will usually employ one of the big fleet training providers to complete this process.

The problem occurs in the medium sized companies - the ones who have grown beyond the ability for the boss to sit in for a day or so, but haven't yet put the procedures in place to ensure that the assessment and training process takes place.

These are often the same companies who have yet to formalise procedures for drivers or even start recording license details on a regular basis.

These are the companies who may be most at risk from driver legislation.

Save yourself a problem - get your fleet assessed and trained.

More info:
Corporate Manslaughter - Guidance from the Ministry of Justice

Corporate Manslaughter - Help from the HSE

Corporate Manslaughter - Guide for Fleet Managers from BusinessCar

Corporate Manslaughter & Driving - Info from a fleet driver trainer

Will it lead to more work for Fleet ADIs?

Well it probably will, but as always the majority of companies who take the time to comply with H&S legislation are usually the ones who don't really need to.

Until there is a big prosecution most companies will do the minimum necessary amount of training. The short term view will always be prevalent across industry.

Luckily there are some companies who take the lead and run with it - these guys are reaping the rewards, both financially and in terms of business efficiency.

Good luck to them.

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