With more than a fifth of UK companies without a road safety policy in place*, the AA is calling on fleet managers and business owners to ensure their employees’ vehicles are effectively managed within a health and safety road policy.
The call comes after the recent poor weather conditions in the UK, which left many employees stranded at home, unable to travel, or broken down in an attempt to get to work in the hazardous conditions. Indeed, the AA had the busiest day of its year on Monday 11th December, recording 24,000 break downs.
Health and Safety Executive (HSE), the national independent watchdog for work-related health, safety and illness, advises business owners and employers that health and safety law applies to on-the-road work activities and the risks should be effectively managed within a health and safety system.
Stuart Thomas, director of fleet and SME services at the AA, commented: “Following the terrible weather conditions that have hit the UK, there is a clear need for businesses to ensure their health and safety policy contains guidance on road safety. In particular, this applies to so-called grey fleets, the terms used to describe any vehicles which are used for business travel but are not owned by the company. This should include guidance on what to do in the event of poor weather conditions. Many company car drivers have been left unsure of their company’s policy, with some still attempting to travel in the snow.
“However, this road safety guidance need is greater than just providing advice to handle the occasional periods of bad weather. Company car drivers are 49% more likely to be involved in an accident than ordinary drivers, even when higher mileages are considered**. Businesses need to ensure all risks to their employees are minimised and that they are not putting themselves, or other road users, in jeopardy.
“Ensure your road safety policy covers every issue your drivers could face, from prohibiting alcohol and drug use while driving, to driver behaviour and self-care behind the wheel. It is also worth introducing driver training as part of your organisation’s health and safety policy. Successful telematics implementation can deliver a wide range of benefits for fleets, including mileage reduction, lowering accident rates and improved vehicle health. By including these measures, fleets and businesses can easily improve their employees’ safety and efficiency in 2018, and beyond.
“Additionally, any policy should include information on electric vehicles usage, with two thirds of fleets expected to run their vehicles on alternative fuels in just five years’ time, as we discovered during a joint research project with BT’s Fleet Solutions. For those with electric fleets, they should plan how they will cope in poor weather conditions, such as knowing the location of charging points on their route. The Chargemaster polar network cards the AA is launching across patrols in the south-east will help to solve any charging issues for fleets.”