Is your driver training health & safety compliant?

Is your driver training health & safety compliant?

Work with your employees to reduce costs and increase road safety

No one enjoys seeing a road traffic accident, especially those that leave someone dead or seriously injured. It’s everyone’s responsibility to drive more safely in the UK, but here are some startling statistics:

It is estimated that 31% of all fatal crashes and 26% of serious injury crashes are caused by someone driving for work.

Numbers like these prove that employers must shoulder a lot of the responsibility for increasing safety on our roads.

In this article, you’ll learn how you can do your bit towards better safety on UK roads by ensuring your driver training is health and safety compliant.

When is someone driving for work?

It is not only van, lorry, bus and taxi drivers who are driving for work. And it’s not only those employees who drive a vehicle provided by their company. If you pay expenses or allowances to employees for driving their own vehicles, they are deemed to be driving for work. This puts you as the employer in a position of responsibility.

Poor H&S compliance for your drivers – who are you putting at risk?

Driving is one of those activities that puts lots of people at risk. The driver, of course, but also other road users, pedestrians, and passengers. A Swedish study conducted in 1998 found that 95% of all accidents are caused by driver error.

Studies have shown that people driving for work are 30% to 40% more likely to be involved in an accident on the road. Unsurprisingly, the law says that as an employer you have a key role to play in managing and influencing your drivers. You’ll need to train them in driving for work.

What driver training must you provide?

You must make sure that a driver is suitably qualified and experienced to do the work requested of them. You cannot simply take the employee’s word as gospel. You’ll need to check they have the correct qualifications and licences, and that their experience is as they claim.

Specific training that you must provide may include:

  • General training about the job. This might include how to report accidents or risks (perceived or real), and route planning.
  • Training on how to operate specific vehicles safely.
  • Information about dangers known, such as speed limits, parking, loading areas, and loading and unloading procedures.
  • Checks on understanding of advice given.

A constant need for driver training

Your business practises and the laws, rules and regulations that dictate acceptable driving practice may change. Therefore, it will also be necessary to provide ongoing training to ensure their compliance and competence is maintained.

You should keep records of all the training you provide, and maintain individual training records for each employee. This might also include a register of qualified and competent drivers, ensuring that driver tasks are only undertaken by suitable employees.

You should integrate road safety into your health and safety policy

When you are developing your health and safety policy, the HSE advises that you integrate work-related road safety into it. This includes training of drivers and instigating best practice principles as part of your driving for work policy. This may include:

  • Guidance on vehicle checks
  • Inspection reporting for commercial vehicles
  • Service schedules actively managed
  • Driving advice

Providing driving advice

This is not about teaching your grandma to suck eggs, but rather about instilling a company culture towards driving. A company policy aimed at safety on the road. For example:

·        Prioritise safety over speed

Turn the schedule rules on their head, and encourage drivers to be safe rather than fast.

·        Eliminate distractions

Make it policy that drivers turn off mobile phones before setting out, and educate them about the dangers of eating or drinking while driving.

·        Reduce stress by taking it seriously

Driving for work can be stressful, and stress leads to poor decisions, which, in turn, lead to accidents caused by driver error. In employee reviews, ensure that you discuss this aspect of driving for work. Coach your managers to spot the signs of driver stress. Review workloads and schedules regularly to ensure pressure is minimised.

·        Schedule to reduce fatigue

People who drive for work are more likely to become fatigued. Shift workers and long-distance drivers are particularly at risk. Ensure schedules allow enough time for rest periods, which should be taken every two hours.

The benefits of health and safety training for drivers

Better management of people who drive for work leads to lower costs, fewer accidents, and enhances business reputation. Companies that have a clearly defined driving for work policy report lower maintenance and fuel costs, as well as reduced insurance claims leading to lower fleet premiums.

By including a driving at work policy within your general health and safety policy, you are not only remaining compliant, but also keeping your people, their passengers, and other road users safer. And while you achieve all these benefits, you should also benefit from reduced costs, which will boost your bottom line.

Our comprehensive suite of H&S documents includes all the documentation you need to develop an effective driving at work policy and maintain compliant driver training with all its associated benefits. For more information, contact Sentry today.

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