A new free toolkit aimed at helping organisations keep vans and drivers safe, legal and ensure they comply with legislation has been launched.
The solution has been launched by the National Highways Commercial vehicle incident prevention team as part of the Driving for Better Business programme.
The toolkit aims to cut through the myths to keep drivers safe, vans legal and to ensure employers comply with not just road traffic legislation but also their health and safety at work responsibilities.
Mark Cartwright, head of the commercial vehicle incident prevention team at National Highways, which was previously called Highways England, said: “One of the things that we see in the van space is the ‘organically grown’ van fleet - the local business, the local entrepreneur that set themselves up as a gardener, or dog walker, or window washer, or plumber, or window cleaner - whatever it happens to be - and got good at it.
“Five years on, and there are 10, 20, 50 vans parked outside - but they haven't gone through the same learning processes as a truck operator would do, for example, and probably don't realise the significant financial and reputational risk they are exposed to.
“Most of the time it is genuinely a lack of awareness - we see vans being operated by businesses that are very good at managing their health and safety in the primary areas of their business, away from the vehicle, but it doesn't necessarily translate to the vehicle operation.
"This is why we have created the Van Driver Toolkit - to help everyone employing van drivers and operating vans to improve their management of road risk."
Simon Turner, campaign manager for Driving for Better Business, added: “We constantly encourage fleet operators to communicate clearly with their drivers as an essential part of creating a safe driving culture within the business.
“However, this is easier said than done as not every business has the time or expertise available in-house to create the resources necessary to do this.
“We created the Van Driver Toolkit so that managers could regularly share essential information with their drivers about the standards required, and how to meet them, in a wide range of easily accessible formats.”
The Van Driver Tooklit is a series of free information modules to assist van drivers and their managers.
It can be accessed by fleet operators and anyone who employs van drivers in their business, and shared either online, vi email or as printed cards.
The toolkit will help employers implement best practice to improve driver well-being, reduce costs, improve operating conditions and ensure safe and legal vehicles are on UK roads.
The modules also cover the risks of overloading, attention to vehicle road-worthiness, safe and considerate parking and drivers’ hours.