How do you maintain health and safety standards for drivers?

How do you maintain health and safety standards for drivers?

Fewer fatalities is only one benefit of driver health and safety training

To develop an effective health and safety policy, you’ll need to identify risks, allot responsibilities, and put in place arrangements to control risks and maintain high standards of health and safety. The arrangements you put in place include training and retraining of employees. One of the areas of most concern is that of operators in charge of vehicles.

In this article, you’ll learn about the health and safety obligations for the training of drivers.

What does ‘driver’ mean?

Whether one of your employees drives a vehicle for you on the public roads or operates a vehicle on site (for example, in a warehouse, distribution centre, storage yard, or construction site), they will be captured by the health and safety laws regarding drivers.

Why is legislation specific about drivers?

While the most common causes of a non-fatal workplace accident are slips, trips, and falls, one of the most common causes of fatal accidents is being struck by a moving vehicle. This is especially true in the agriculture, waste, and transportation and storage sectors, in which fatal death caused by a moving vehicle ranges between 23% and 39% of all fatal accidents (Fatal injuries reportable in RIDDOR, 2012/13 to 2016/17).

One of the major aims of health and safety in the workplace is to reduce or eliminate the number of work-related fatalities. As so many fatalities are attributed to moving vehicles, it follows that you should put some emphasis on maintaining the standards of your drivers.

What benefits will you experience by ensuring high driver standards?

As well as reducing fatalities, your business will benefit in several ways from pursuing an effective driver training policy within your health and safety policy. For example, you will suffer:

  • Fewer lost days because of injury
  • Fewer vehicle repairs
  • Fewer missed deliveries

In short, productivity will improve and cost decrease.

What does the law say about driver training?

It is the employer’s responsibility to ensure that drivers receive initial training, and then any ongoing training that may be necessary. The emphasis on the training given should be to make certain that drivers are equipped to both drive and carry out other work in a careful and responsible manner.

The law says that you must provide adequate training to ensure health and safety when an employee driver:

  • First joins your company
  • Is exposed to new or increased risks in the workplace

You should also customise the training to the driver’s individual needs.

How do you develop a good driver training plan?

To develop an adequate training plan for your drivers, you should consider their individual experience, the work they will do, and the qualifications and standards they will need to meet to operate the vehicles required. This will enable you to identify the level and quantity of training required.

You should also consider the specialist training required for drivers to be proficient and health and safety conscious in their role. Driving is rarely the only skill that a driver needs. They may have to load and unload, use specialist vehicle attachments, and so on. You must ensure you provide adequate training and assessment to ensure that your drivers have the necessary skills to undertake all facets of their job.

Highlight driver risks in your training programmes

You must ensure that each driver is made aware of specific risks associated with their role, and that they are trained in safe working practices that should include (but are not limited to):

  • Driving too fast
  • Manoeuvring too swiftly
  • Driving on uneven or sloping ground

Recording proof of training

It is important that you record the training that you provide to employees. The training and assessment record of each driver should be kept in their file, and include:

  • Training history
  • Training needs
  • Planned training
  • A list of the vehicles the employee is allowed to operate

You should use these records as a point of reference in your operational workflow, and when conducting employee reviews. You should also refer to them should you change vehicles, work processes, managers, or if the employee moves to a new site.

This is a lot of paperwork, but all necessary. If you don’t comply with the law and train your drivers adequately, you could be hit with a huge fine. The Sentry system makes it easy to identify training needs, keep records, and remember when new training is needed. Contact Sentry today to book your free, no obligation demo.

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