The best business advice, opinion, news and expertise in Greater Manchester and further afield.

Friday, 11 January 2013

Friday Guest Blog - Steering Your Employees in the Right Direction

By Karen Baron, Business Management Consultant at Stephensons Solicitors LLP

Road safety is a significant concern in Britain, with the latest figures highlighting an increase in the number of road deaths to 25,023 from 24,510 in 2010 – the first annual increase since 1994.

All drivers have rights and responsibilities when it comes to being safe on the road. But for businesses in particular, road accidents could have a real impact on the company.   

The majority of businesses use company vehicles in some shape or form. From those who ask their staff to use their own vehicles to those with fleets of vehicles on the road. Many businesses will know that if a traffic accident or offence occurs, they could be held vicariously liable.

In fact, up to a third of road accidents involve someone who is driving for work purposes. So it’s really important to manage road risks and minimise the chances of being involved in criminal proceedings as a result of a drivers actions.

So what can businesses do to protect themselves? First and foremost, when recruiting drivers, ask them to complete and sign a driver declaration form, stating that they must drive within road traffic laws, take part in any assessment/training programmes and co-operate with monitoring, reporting and investigation procedures.

Put in place a driver’s policy, or check it’s up to date it if you already have one in place. Give it to all staff when they join the business.

When was the last time you checked your drivers’ insurance, driving licence and MOT documents? Put in place regular checks to ensure they’re valid. Likewise, is the vehicle they’re using fit for purpose?

It’s not just the vehicles which should be in good condition. The health of your drivers is also important. Their eyesight must satisfy the Highway Code requirements and as a responsible business, you should encourage them to have regular eye tests.

It’s also worth ensuring that management are aware of their responsibilities, they can help to feed down the message to all staff about what’s expected of them while they’re on the road.

This is not an exhaustive list but I hope it will drive home the message that businesses can limit the risk of being involved in a road accident or traffic offence by steering their staff in the right direction.