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Protecting employees is a complex business, but how do you implement a risk management policy – and why?

Most companies will have a varied portion of their workforces out on the road, which means they’re subject to legislation, the most prevalent parts of which are the Health & Safety Act 1974 and the Corporate Manslaughter and Homicide Act 2007.

“The issue is confusing because there are myriad interpretations of how these pieces of legislation should be reflected in fleet policies,” says IAM Roadsmart Business Development Director Tony Greenridge. “They provide a set of rules against which businesses and individual drivers can benchmark their performance and compliance.”

The consequences of not taking risk management seriously cross several boundaries, with Greenridge pointing out that the reputational damage of being seen to fail your employees could be at least as severe as the cost of any physical damage to vehicles.

And then there’s the financial and emotional damage of employees being injured in traffic accidents while working, especially if there is any degree of employer culpability.

“Employees are becoming increasingly aware of their rights in terms of workplace safety, and I fear it is only a matter of time before we see a high-profile case of corporate manslaughter that will set an important precedent regarding employers’ responsibility towards at-work drivers,” added Greenridge.

 

RISK COMPLIANCE CAN BRING SOME SIGNIFICANT FINANCIAL BENEFITS

IAM Roadsmart points out that fleets not putting risk management policies in place and ignoring their responsibilities are likely to be missing out on cost savings.

“There is strong evidence that a safe and efficient driver incurs lower whole-life costs,” claims IAM Roadsmart Business Development Director Tony Greenridge. “That on its own is a powerful reason why optimising driver performance should be at the heart of any business’s fleet strategy.”

The biggest barrier, according to IAM, is the “emotional” aspect of putting a driver risk-management programme in place, where there is a perception that an employee’s driving is suddenly being judged.

But there are many elements that can be monitored to see the impact of risk management and driver training decisions.

What Can be tracked:

  • Number of incidents per annum
  • Number of at-fault incidents
  • Average cost of incidents
  • Number of vehicles returned to lease company with damage claims
  • Average fuel economy
  • Cost of insurance

Train to gain 6p per litre

A 10.0-12.5% reduction in fuel use is an achievable aim for those drivers attending an eco-driving course, according to IAM Roadsmart, and the organisation calculates that even if the techniques were only employed half the time, it would lead to a 6p per litre saving on fuel bills. “Most companies would move supplier in a heartbeat if they could achieve that kind of fuel saving,” it comments.

 

TIPS FOR A RESPONSIBLE HEALTH AND SAFETY ATTITUDE

From Nextbase director, Richard Browning

Richard Browning, Director - Nextbase

Richard Browning, Director – Nextbase

 1. Big responsibilities

Fleet operators have a responsibility to ensure their drivers are adequately trained to mitigate against the risks that the ever-increasing numbers of vehicles on the road brings with it. What’s more, fleet operators have a responsibility to ensure the safety, where possible, but perhaps more importantly the protection of their own drivers. Technology can only be a positive thing here.

 

2. Insurance headache

With an estimated three million insurance claims on UK roads each year, it is being well documented that insurance premiums are on the rise. An insurance claim can have a major impact on business, whether or not the fault lies with the driver, and fraudulent claims on insurance are also on the rise – what has been termed ‘crash for cash’ incidents.

 

3. Not just about the crashes

Even pre-traffic incident, motorists with a dash cam installed have been proven to be 33% safer behind the wheel. And as well as protecting you against fraudulent claims, dash cams can cut the cost of insurance premiums.

 

4. Video can help clear drivers

Even the safest driver can be unlucky and be the victim of bad driving from other motorists. If a driver is involved in two incidents in two weeks, one would presume the driver is at fault in some way, but footage would allow him to be exonerated by his company and avoid stigma with his peers.

 

5. Easy win that doesn’t need a policy rewrite

A dash cam is an easy win for commercial drivers. As the fastest-growing area of consumer technology, dash cams are fast becoming the most significant change to the automotive accessory market. Once plugged in, the camera is ready to go as soon as you turn on the ignition.