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Driving - A Core Skill For Business

Posted: 10/04/2019

When it comes to road safety, businesses of all shapes and sizes in both the public and private sector have a health and safety responsibility to ensure that all members of staff are good drivers and riders - and driving should very much be viewed as a core skill for business.

This is according to the newly revamped IAM RoadSmart Manifesto, due to be launched later this year that will form the basis of a submission from the organisation to the House of Commons Transport Committee Inquiry into Road Safety.

The manifesto emphasises the fact that improved driver and rider behaviour could have a big impact on the safety of our roads, embracing all stages of driving and riding careers from straight after the initial test as well as for those how passed their tests many years ago, and underlining the importance of regular refresher courses.

According to charity Brake, five people die on the roads in Great Britain each day, while countless more are seriously injured. In 2017, 1,793 people were killed on Britain’s roads, the highest annual total since 2011 - so it certainly seems as though steps need to be implemented now in order to address the issue of road safety.

For that year, the highest number of fatalities were car users, making up 44 per cent of road deaths in the UK. There were also 470 pedestrian deaths in 2017, a five per cent rise on 2016. Some 26 per cent of all road deaths were pedestrians.

It’s worth noting that in 2017, 60 per cent of road deaths occurred on rural roads, although the majority of casualties occurred on urban ones. The number of those killed on urbanised 20mph roads rose by 79 per cent in 2016, while the overall number of road crashes on 20mph roads went up by 43 per cent over the same period.

Managing Director of Ford of Britain, Andy Barratt has just taken up the post of chairman of IAM RoadSmart, starting on April 1st, and he had this to say about his new appointment: “In my roles at Ford, developing safe vehicles is the number one priority.

“In taking the chair of IAM RoadSmart, my focus will be to ensure that human factors are high on the road safety agenda in order to reduce the number of people killed and seriously injured on roads in the UK.

“As a cyclist, driver and pedestrian I’ve been pleased to lead Ford’s Share the Road initiatives, encouraging cooperation and understanding between road users. As a motor industry representative chairing IAM RoadSmart, I believe that we can continue to find common ground, cooperation and practical ways forward to make sure that real change happens - with vehicle makers, politicians, the media, and with all road users.”

Driving for work

When it comes to vehicle use and maintenance when driving for work, the law puts all sorts of specific requirements on employers. But they also have a responsibility under health and safety legislation to prioritise the health and safety of their staff members and anyone else who could be affected by their work activities, including the activity of driving on public roads.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) wants to achieve fewer road accidents through effective employer management of the risk from driving for work, collaborating with their members of staff. It also wants to establish a good partnership with other organisations that could help to raise awareness of work-related road risks.

Department for Transport statistics show that over a quarter of all road traffic incidents may involve someone driving as part of their work at the time of the accident. Health and safety legislation won’t apply to any commuters unless they’re travelling from their house to somewhere that’s not their usual place of work.

Bear in mind that health and safety laws apply to work activities on the road in the exact same way that they would to all work activities, and as such you have to manage the risks to drivers as part of your typical health and safety arrangements.

You will need to consult with your employees and any health and safety representatives (if applicable) on issues like risks arising from their work, proposals to manage or control these risks and the best ways of providing both training and information.

When assessing risks on the road, follow the same principles that you would for all other work activities. This should be about identifying and implementing sensible measures to control risks and it may well help you work out whether or not you could be doing more to protect your employees. The aim of the assessment is to prevent, mitigate or make the risk of someone being either injured or killed as low as possible.

Don’t forget to ask your staff members or their representatives about the hazards that they think could result in harm on public roads, as they’ll have firsthand experience of what actually happens in practice. Get both the views of people who drive extensively and those who only do it occasionally.

Always review your risk assessments on a regular basis so that you know the risks to drivers and others are suitably controlled.

Driving at work

As the HSE points out, vehicles at work are still one of the biggest causes of fatal and major injuries. Each year, there are more than 5,000 incidents that involve transport in the workplace and around 50 of these result in someone losing their lives.

In order to manage the risks that using workplace transport presents, you need to consider the three areas of safe site, safe vehicle and safe driver. Do ensure that people and vehicles are kept apart, do have clear site rules and make sure they’re enforced, anchor loads securely fixed to the vehicle chassis and avoid the need to work at height on vehicles.

Where people’s safety is concerned, employers should make sure that all staff members hold the relevant licences as well as being fit and competent to use all vehicles, machines and attachments in all the environments they’re to be used in.

It’s also essential that employers and duty holders ensure that vehicles used in the workplace are safe, driven safely and maintained, repaired and inspected on a regular basis.

And as for site safety, every workplace will need to be safe for the people and vehicles using it, with clear signage and suitable traffic routes set up. Where pedestrians and vehicles share traffic routes, there must be suitable crossing areas.

If you think you need it, it might be worth sorting out workplace safety training so you know you’re doing all you can to keep your employees safe. As vehicles collisions can be a site-specific risk to many businesses, it's important there are included within your emergency response plan and a suitable level of response is put in place to tackle this risk.

You can opt for either a three-hour basic first aid course, a full day for working at height training, or a more intensive training programme that covers all sorts of wide disciplines. If you’d like further information on the kind of benefits fully trained and competent employees can provide, please get in touch with us here at HFR Solutions CIC today.