There is much ‘scaremongery’ in fleet world relating to compliance and fleet risk management – but that doesn’t mean that it’s something fleet operators should ignore or feel that it doesn’t apply to them. OK so you might not go straight to jail if you miss a service or don’t have a mobile phone policy but still there are simple steps you can take to get organised and mitigate the company risk and reduce costs whilst keeping your drivers safe and sound.
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Sure we know that larger organisations are more focussed on this sort of thing and perhaps that’s down to resources and a wider sense of corporate responsibility but you don’t need to employ a compliance officer to get the foundations in place and the basics right to look after your fleet of 2, 50 or 100+ vehicles…
“So are you running a compliant fleet or are you winging it?”
“How would you fare if the HSE were to visit?”
READ OUR 9 TELL TALE HIGH RISK SIGNS BELOW
1. What’s the Driving at Work document?
If you haven’t heard of this before then that’s not a good start. This is a guideline document issued by the HSE for businesses that use vehicles. It needs interpretation but essentially think of the vehicle (that’s ANY vehicle or driver) that’s making a business journey as an extension of the workplace and your on the right track.
2. We don’t check licences with the DVLA..
You don’t? Shame on you. There isn’t even a counterpart any more so this is the only way to go. But then there’s more. Would you hire a driver with 10 points? What if a driver presents a high risk/has a pattern of offences emerging – i.e. speeding? You can check licences for free or through agents with pros and cons for each.
3. We don’t do or record vehicle checks..
Like any piece of machinery, especially ones that travel at 70 mph+, you need to make sure its in good working order. Glass, tyres, damages, fluids – a regular, maybe monthly, vehicle check-list should be completed by the driver for any vehicle used on business otherwise you could exposed in the event of an incident.
4. We haven’t conducted a Fleet Risk Audit..
At the core of the Driving for Work guidelines is Measure, Monitor, Improve. A fleet risk audit is the initial measure or GAP analysis that you need to conduct to assess your current position in relation to the guidelines. This informs the process of effective fleet management and how to create your risk policy. Done correctly your audit should focus on the 4 key areas of Company, Drivers, Vehicles, Journeys and would cover much of the topics listed here.
5. Fleet Risk Policy – what policy?
Stay with me… Its not as complex as it seems. Your company needs to understand its obligations and document how it will deliver on those obligations. What will you do? How often? Why, Who? Conduct your audit first and the policy will become clearer. This applies to all businesses and in the event of an incident you could be required to produce this to either the Police or the HSE in addition to a driver facing version – a Driver Handbook. NOTE – there no ‘off the shelf’ solution here – it must be specific for your company and your risk and policy.
6. I’m not sure what Grey Fleet is..
If your not sure what Grey Fleet is its likely you could be exposed. Essentially, any vehicle being driven on behalf of the business means responsibility for the business and that includes specifically people who use their own cars and vans. You need to treat these journeys/vehicles/drivers just the same as company vehicle drivers. Do you have any occasional drivers, subbies or car allowance drivers? There’s more than 4 million grey fleet vehicles in the UK.
7. The drivers manage their own maintenance…
That’s not an issue in principle BUT – this would suggest that the business has no visibility on key dates and tasks required in order to keep vehicles safe, legal and effective. A central database or software that allows you to proactively action key dates is much lower risk. NOTE – we had a company director recently who drove his vehicle for 60,000 miles with the service light on! #truestory
8. We don’t need training, we are all amazing drivers!
I’m sure you are! But amazing and safe aren’t always the same thing. Remember, training doesn’t need to be £400 a time and all day in a car for every driver. On-line assessments, e-learning, seminars – it can take many forms. Just because someone has a licence doesn’t mean they can drive.
9. Our guys are grafters and do long shifts
Not too long I hope. The EU’s Working Time Directive (2003/88/EC) requires EU countries to guarantee a limit to weekly working hours, which must not exceed 48 hours on average, including any overtime and a minimum daily rest period of 11 consecutive hours in every 24.
So there’s my top 9 things to ask yourself that should inform you which side of the fence you are on. How did you do?
I know what your thinking…
“We aren’t a big fleet. We only have 10/40/60 – this is for big businesses.”
It’s not. If vehicles, yours or otherwise, are used to facilitate your business then you need to have a good hard look at this and get to work. At some point SOMETHING will and often DOES happen – then what will you do?
Example – around 1 in every 110 drivers licences we check is banned and around 3 in 100 have previous or current points that affect insurance status.
Example – around 42,000 vehicles being driven for work purposes were involved in personal injury accidents in 2013 – source Drivingforbetterbusiness.
So what are the consequences?
This all depends on the circumstances , the incident concerned and what you are being prosecuted for and how.
If there is a fatality and the business/officers are found culpable then it could be an unlimited fine, public announcements, directorship disqualification and even imprisonment although the latter is unlikely.
What is very likely though is fines, loss of reputation and all round bad news for the business in every area from recruitment to client relationships.
But here’s a secret… If you manage your fleet as above then the likely hood is you will SAVE MONEY TOO! Fuel savings, less crashes, lower insurance, less frequent maintenance, more resale value of vehicles etc.
The business case for reduced accident rate alone should see your return on investment in these initiatives in the ‘000%’s.
Is it important that you do this?
Yes. Compare it to fire regs. You have fire extinguishers on your walls right? How many fires have you had? Just check out the info that’s out there and make your own mind up. It’s your business, your risk, your choice but if its reasonable and practical then why not? Its all best practice anyway and there’s a few (ahem) good companies out there who can help you through it. Remember, theres a huge return on investment for managing your fleet correctly and doing it legally is at the heart of that. You might save a life along the way too…
How can I find out more?
Check out the HSE Driving at Work doc https://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/indg382.pdf
Email me for some details at email@example.com
Stay safe, stay legal, reduce costs, reduce admin…