A RECENT survey found that business drivers in Scotland are the most likely to drive dangerously for work purposes than any other region within the UK.
A study from a UK-wide insurance firm found that Scottish company sales representatives are the most dangerous drivers, and often exceed the speed limit and jump red lights to ensure they make appointments on time.
Leading North-east HR and health and safety firm, Empire, claims that unsafe driving for work should be addressed by employers. While they cannot ensure how a driver behaves on the road, it is an employer’s duty to encourage safe driving, and take all reasonable precautions to protect its employees’ safety whilst out of the office.
Employers are required to undertake a risk assessment of occupational driving to identify hazards that could affect employees on the road. This assessment should consider many areas such as speeding, inclement weather, the effects of shift working on drivers, fatigue and use of phones or satellite navigation systems. Procedures should be applied ensuring clear information and instruction is given to drivers, including checking processes to ensure all drivers are properly insured and licensed and that vehicles are in a safe and roadworthy condition, whether they are hired through work or owned by the employee.
Gill Hutchinson, health and safety manager for Empire, said: “Employers have to ensure that their employees are safe on the roads. While they cannot always monitor what their employees do in the car, they must promote safe driving.
“Companies with occupational drivers should provide information and clarity for their employees. Driver handbooks or leaflets where they spell out rules drivers have to follow while on the road can be used by employers to outline expected standards of behaviour in the car, as well as other instructions such as emergency procedures and winter driving advice.”
Hands-Free: One of the most frightening statistics in the driving study found that one in seven drivers admitted to answering calls without using hands-free equipment while on the road.
Not only is the use of phones while driving hazardous, it’s also illegal. Employers should enforce strict rules about the use of mobile devices for employees who have to make calls whilst out on the road. Without a hands-free system, employees should never make or receive calls while driving.
Similarly, drivers can be prosecuted for operating satellite navigation equipment if they don’t have proper control of their vehicles. Rules should restrict drivers to stopping in a safe place to make any adjustments to a journey plan.
Keep the Car Healthy: As with any vehicle on the road, cars for business must be properly maintained. This is especially important for pool cars, which are not used by any one single employee. It is the employer’s responsibility to schedule MOTs for pool cars, and to perform regular safety checks to ensure the car is safe for all-company use. Each driver should be clear that it is also their responsibility for safety checking a vehicle prior to using it on a public highway.
Set Breaks: Just like work in an office, companies should enforce rules about the number of workable hours in a car. Employers should set a limit for the amount of time an employee can drive during the day, and should instruct employees to take appropriate driving breaks.
Employers should also consider their provision of overnight accommodation where long distance driving or work schedules increase hazards for employees.
Empire can support employers to understand their responsibilities to drivers and support them in their provision of appropriate systems.
To find out more on Empire’s health and safety service and any of the other services, call the advice line team on 01224 701383 or visit www.empirehr.com
Issued by Frasermedia Ltd on behalf of Empire