Duty of care – driving home the eyecare message

Wednesday, January 14, 2015 - 11:00
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John Cameron

Better or worse? Better or worse?

Increasing number of employers are aware of their responsibilities to drivers

Research released today by Specsavers Corporate Eyecare reveals that employers have an awareness of their responsibilities when it comes to employees who drive for work. The figures also show, however, that more needs to be done to increase employer understanding.

It is the areas that come under an employer’s duty of care that still apparently cause the most confusion regarding driver safety. To gauge employers’ overall understanding, Specsavers Corporate Eyecare asked over 120 heads of companies, representing over 99,000 employees, what they thought came under their duty of care as employers. Of those surveyed:

  • 82% believe ensuring all drivers have a full and current driving licence comes under their duty of care.
  • 79% believe ensuring all company cars are taxed, insured and maintained, comes under their duty of care.
  • With 70% believing this for employees’ own cars, used for work purposes.

In fact, as all work activities come under an employer’s duty of care, they have a responsibility for all of these areas.

An encouraging and perhaps surprising 74% of the employers surveyed also stated they believe ensuring an employee has adequate eyesight for driving, is part of their duty of care as an employer.

Commenting on the findings, Suzanne Randall, corporate account manager for Specsavers Corporate Eyecare, said: “We have been working hard to convey the message that employers must take responsibility for their drivers. This must include not only checking documents and maintaining vehicles but also ensuring that employees themselves are fit to drive and have adequate eyesight. Even taking our communication efforts into account, we were pleasantly surprised by how many employers now understand that drivers’ eyesight comes under their duty of care.”

Indeed, the HSE makes it clear that employers have a responsibility for their drivers. The Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 ‘requires employers to take appropriate steps to ensure the health and safety of their employees and others who may be affected by their activities when at work. This includes the time when they are driving or riding at work, whether this is in a company or hired vehicle, or in the employee’s own vehicle.’

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