Van operators neglecting duty of care, finds Gain Solutions

Businesses are ignoring important elements of their duty of care responsibilities and failing to regularly conduct thorough risk assessments of their vans, according to Gain Solutions.

A decade on since the introduction of the Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act, and despite an initial flurry of action, businesses need to refocus their efforts on inspecting vehicles rather than waiting for the next service or the end of the contract, Gains Solutions suggests.

It has carried out more 40,000 vehicle inspections for clients wanting to defleet their cars and vans and has observed areas of neglect that create a threat to road safety, including worn or badly cut tyres, severely cracked windscreens, broken mirrors and lights as well as damaged seat belts.

It has also found issues with vans fitted with roof racks.

Robin Watson, managing director at Gain Solutions, said: “In order to ease the loading, drivers are walking on the roof panels. This creates a risk of employees falling from the roof, resulting in injury or death.

“Additionally, when it comes to remarketing the van, the only viable option will be a costly replacement of the roof panel.”

Gain Solutions offers in-service inspections, carried out on a frequency to suit the mileage and use of the vehicle allowing the company to address condition issues quickly and resolve poor or unsafe working practices.

Watson added: “Typically these vans have been worked hard for three or four years, while on lease or contract hire and in many cases drivers have been given the responsibility to regularly check the condition of their own vehicle, but in practice, after a long working day and week, this often doesn’t get completed.

“Often when we inspect these vans at defleet, the condition and subsequent recharges are way higher than they needed to be, especially if the condition and safety related items were regularly appraised during their time on the fleet. In addition, we often record the condition of items that could pose danger and subject the driver or the senior management to prosecution, in the event of an accident.”


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