Drivers should be reminded of H&S policies before returning to the road

Van driver, Mercedes-Benz

Businesses are being urged to remind company car and van drivers of their health and safety policies before returning to work in the coming months.  

When the UK emerged from its first lockdown in 2020, road traffic congestion was reported to be far higher than it was the year previous, and the same is anticipated for 2021.

Venson Automotive Solutions says a well communicated health and safety policy could significantly reduce the burden of business driving post-lockdown.

Alison Bell, marketing director at Venson, said: “Those employees that  have either been working from home or furloughed this year, are likely to have used their vehicle less and taken shorter journeys when needing to drive. It is therefore important that both drivers and vehicles are road fit.

"Vehicles used solely for business may have sat idle for some time and not undergone the necessary safety checks that might usually have been carried out on a day-to-day basis, such as battery, windscreen wipers, tyre pressure, oil level, loads, etc.  

“Individuals who have failed to manage the safety of a vehicle risks fines, penalty points and a ban from driving. Employers can also be held liable for failures to manage road risk under health and safety law.”

Health and Safety Executive (HSE) states that health and safety laws apply to on-the-road work activities and the risks should be effectively managed within a health and safety policy and employers have the same duty of care to those ‘out and about’ as they do to those in the office.

Bell added: “If a company offers their staff a driver safety training programme, it may be worthwhile to get them to retake the training before they start driving again. It is also a good idea to refresh employees on vehicle pre-use safety checks.

“Furthermore, to ensure drivers can adjust to getting behind the wheel and don’t become fatigued, employers need to make sure they closely manage journey schedules. This will mean employees have sufficient time to complete their jobs, avoid speeding, do not drive excessive hours, get adequate breaks and rest periods and, avoid driving at peak accident times. It has been a tough year already for everyone and it is essential that businesses comply with health and safety measures to get staff back on the road safely.”

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