Ensures ‘duty of care’ compliance as well as reducing driver risk, fleet costs and reputational risk
Why have only a few organisations…
There are clearly many reasons – laissez faire attitude, road risk is only one of many business risks, unsure where to start, don’t see a financial benefit etc. However organisations, that don’t act, are not only potentially gambling with the lives of their staff and therefore failing to provide appropriate ‘duty of care’ but they have missed an opportunity to reduce vehicle costs and reputational risk within their business.
Under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, employers have a statutory duty - they are required – ‘ to carry out an assessment of the risks to the health and safety of their employees’ and that ‘includes any driving activity on the road’ – see http://www.hse.gov.uk/roadsafety/employers.htm
Some businesses have opted out of offering the traditional company car to employees believing that moving to a cash-for-car, personal contract purchase scheme or letting the employee use their own car when driving for work removes their health and safety responsibilities. It doesn’t.
> Fact 1: Magazine giant IPC has removed its cash for car choice for high mileage drivers, citing fears that accidents involving badly maintained cars could leave the company open to corporate manslaughter charges.
> Fact 2: A firm faced a £9 million damages bill after one of its drivers ran over a cyclist while using a mobile phone. The cyclist was left paralysed from the neck down and on a life support machine. The £9 million payout is thought to be the highest awarded to a British citizen by an English court.
Driving is, without doubt, the most dangerous work-related activity performed by most people in Britain.
It is estimated that a third of road deaths and serious injuries each year involve people driving for work. Indeed, RoSPA calculates that, after deep sea fishing and coal mining, driving 25,000 miles a year on business is the most life-threatening activity we undertake - more dangerous than working in construction.
With as many deaths and serious injuries involving people who were at work at the time, the moral argument demanding that companies take measures to safeguard the lives of their staff and other road users, is compelling.
> Fact 1: Nearly 40 people a week are killed on UK roads.
> Fact 2: Driving is the most dangerous task the majority of employees undertake while at work. In fact, four times as many people are killed while driving for work than any other industrial accident.
On average, 65% of all company vehicles will be involved in a road incidence within the next 12 months and that average vehicle repair costs, following an accident, can range between £750 and £4,500 per claim.
The savings attributable to a risk management programme
> Fact 1: Driver training can typically reduce fleet costs by up to 20% in the first year.
> Fact 2: Fleet costs hit the bottom line. For example, a company with a turnover of £10M with 4% return on sales, a fleet of 40 vehicles with typical incident rates and costs of repair and admin, needs to generate around £ 990,000 in revenue simply to cover the full costs of road traffic accidents alone.
The feedback from many fleet managers is that they ‘get it’ but that their bosses don’t see it as high priority. So what are the potential consequences for the business as a whole?
Today, the police treat the scene of a fatal road collision as an ‘unlawful killing’ and, if appropriate, may interview the employee, managers and directors. Under today’s legislation, if the company’s actions – or lack of them – is deemed to have contributed to the incident, company representatives may be charged with manslaughter.
As well as the personal risk and stress, the reputation of the company as a whole may be threatened. In today’s marketplace, ‘brand value’ can be a major competitive advantage and unlawful actions by an employee, both deliberate and accidental, can significantly affect this corporate asset.
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