30 September 2015

HSE urges annual driver occupational road risk management assessments

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has advised employers that driver risk assessments should be made at least annually.

Andrew Wetters, Policy Adviser of Workplace Transport at the HSE, said at an ACFO seminar: ‘It has got to be the health and safety policy of a company to keep people up to date and remind them of issues like winter weather and planning journeys. That has got to be a regular communication with the staff.

‘Risk assessments should be done at least annually to have a full review, but things aren’t going to change that much if you’ve done a good one; it’s just making sure that everyone is up to date and aware of their risks and the duties they should be performing.’

Asked whether the government was planning to regulate driving hours for employees at the wheel of company cars and light commercial vehicles as has been done for HGV drivers, Mr Wetters ruled out the possibility.

He told delegates: ‘We are not proposing to bring in any legislation, but journey planning is an issue that people do need to be aware of. In many cases driving is only a facility to provide the service and when those employees are on, say, call for maintenance purposes and are forced to leave home after doing a full day’s shift and then make a return journey that has got to be factored in and the issues of fatigue have got to be looked at.

‘Quite often companies have a very good policy of allowing people to stay out, they don’t question hotel bills, but the individual wants to get back home and then they put themselves at risk.’

Asked for advice on how to get to get work-related road risk on to board agendas, Mr Wetters told delegates: ‘One of the messages is getting employers to act first and not act after [an accident]. Leadership is very important. The boards of companies provide leadership.

‘In this area, with journey planning, if employees aren’t dashing all over the place, they are actually doing less miles, so to the fleet manager that must be a benefit. If drivers are not fatigued the risk factor of accidents goes down markedly.

‘Incident reporting is important. It might be that minor bumps and scrapes in the car park are the suggestion that someone has an issue with spatial awareness. That [reporting] can help gain a picture of a driver and that is where the assessment and defensive training of a driver also plays a part because that is an independent look at a person’s driving skills.’