The grey fleet challenge
23 January 2013
The introduction of the Corporate Manslaughter Act has prompted organisations to take a closer look at how they manage work related road risk with managing "grey fleets"â€“ the use of personal cars for business trips â€“ presenting a particular challenge. Nick Mills offers some advice on creating a Work Related Road Safety Policy (WRRS)...
Research carried out by Rent-ACar shows that more than one in three workers (35 per cent) use their car for business purposes, making it the most common form of business transport. Managing the safety of these so called 'grey fleet' drivers is difficult but cannot be ignored.
Set up a company work related road safety policy Employers should not be daunted by the prospect, and once in place, providing it is enforced and reviewed periodically, it has been proven by many organisations to save money in terms of insurance premiums, accident repairs, out of service costs, accident administration, and employee sick leave/work injuries.
Risk-assess the fleet across the five core areas: legislation, health and safety, environmental, employee and financial.
Set out rules, guidelines and procedures to help minimize "in house" fleet and "grey fleet" related risks and put in place regular checks on insurance, MOT document's, scheduled servicing and ensure basic maintenance checks are regularly carried out. Finally, ensure that an efficient audit trail is in place.
Compile a driver manual A driver manual should contain the company policy and procedures, safe driving information, emergency contact information, procedures for reporting defects and repairs, what should be done in the case of an accident and outline essential vehicle checks. It should be in A5 format, easy to read and include practical advice.
Treat all drivers the same Whether the employee is in a company car or drives their own vehicle (grey fleet), they should be treated exactly the same. The company work related road safety policy, driver manual and related training should be provided to all drivers. Businesses should ensure that all drivers regularly maintain their vehicles. Regular checks by the company should be made on:
Fluid levels and battery. Lights and windscreen wipers. Tyre pressures and tread levels: 1.6mm of tread over the centre 3/4 width of the tyre is the legal minimum, tyres should be changed before this to avoid police prosecution and to maintain the required levels of grip. The police have the power to fine drivers up to £2500 plus three penalty points per tyre for less than minimum treads
Ensure the driver has adequate insurance The insurance must allow the car to be used for business purposes. Both the driver and the employer can be fined if the car is not insured adequately and may find that they are not covered in the event of an accident.
Ensure the car has regular MOTs Also make sure it is taxed for the road,
Check driving licenses Check any new employees driving license to confirm that they are eligible to drive Implement a regular check on driving licenses to keep track of penalty points and possible driving bans and maintain a driver file to monitor driver's safety records and behaviour.
Preparing for emergencies Consider equipping company car users and grey fleet drivers with safety packs including torch, high visibility clothing, warning triangle, and breakdown contact information.
Ensure drivers carry a high visibility vest for each passenger: Store these vests along with medical and emergency contact information as well as essential vehicle details and roadside assistance contact information inside the passenger cell of the vehicle so that it is easily accessible.
Educate Carry out training where appropriate and warn against drugs and alcohol while driving. It is also important to give drivers plenty of time to get to their next location and don't set impossible schedules - this is especially relevant in the delivery and courier sector where the setting of productivity bonuses which might affect driver safety will be viewed upon negatively in the event of a road traffic incident.
The introduction of the Corporate Manslaughter Act provided stronger powers for the police and the HSE to conduct investigations following an incident into a company's provision of adequate health and safety at work policies. In a concerted attempt to reduce road deaths and casualties Work Related Road Safety (WRRS) is firmly under the spotlight and relates to the safety of employees who drive as part of their work. This is understandable when it is suggested that at least 30 per cent of road collisions involve people who are at work and more recent figures suggest that 50 per cent may be a more realistic figure.
Nick Mills is the managing director of InStar, the supplier of VISPACK driver safety packs.