Managing Driving for Work

What is The importance of Managing Driving for Work? It is important for the well-being of employees and of course makes sound business sense as it protects the employer, employees and profits!

The financial cost of work related road conditionsThe financial cost of work related road conditionsSome employers believe that most work related road incident costs are covered by insurance. Most insurance premiums do not cover the full costs.

On average for every €1 claimed on insurance companies can pay a further €10 to €40 themselves an average for uninsured losses arising from such incidents.

The management of risk associated with driving for work and adopting good driving for work policies for a company is not met then costs could escalate in areas like sick pay, replacement staff, downtime, management and admin costs, replacement of damaged goods, property and vehicles, damage to corporate identity and customer service, legal fees, increased insurance costs, production losses and third party claims to name but a few.

What are the benefits of managing Driving for work?Not only work business costs be reduced, but the business will become more efficient by the reduction of time wasted on rescheduling and vehicle downtime along with vehicle running costs. The enhanced protection of employees and other road users by reducing the number of work related injuries. Reduced disruptions and damage to corporate identity strengthen legal defence through documented procedures and protecting the company by obeying the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act and the Rules of the Road.
Many work related collisions involving vehicles can be prevented by managing risks and identifying hazards.

The management of Driving for WorkThis should be a core part of company policy in Health and Safety Management irrespective of size of a company. There are 3 keys areas to be looked at The Driver, The Vehicle and The Journey Plan.

The Main Steps for developing your policy

  1. Develop a driving for work policy outlining the aims of the policy, showing that management is committed, be aware of current driving for work legislation, and explain in a planned and controlled manner the three key elements of driving for work –the driver, the vehicle and the journey plan. Show all the resources required. The key role for this would be a senior management position. The job description should explain the role and have authority to push policy procedure through the system and make sure employees put into practice procedures, if not strict disciplinary procedures will be taken that could lead to dismissal. The importance of role listing and assessing the risks Driving For Work and drawing up the proper control measures. There should be good lines of communication between Fleet Manager, Health and Safety Manager and the Purchasing Manager.
  2. Putting in practice the defining job descriptions and responsibilities, thus giving correct control measures. The setting up of documented control systems to ensure drivers and managers have the right skills and controlled training procedures so responsibilities are and clear and adhered to. The importance of communication between employees and customers so that all are aware there will be no compromisein standards or rules in adhering to policy. The stopping of bad practice such as overloading vehicles, breaking rules on driver hours, and using all types of un-roadworthy equipment and vehicles. The strict adherence of the correct recording of vehicle maintenance and inspection, driver hours, working time, and reviewing of driving licences. The setting up of safe systems of work so that records are kept of driving classification, details of collisions, record of traveling distances each year, record of assessments and any refresher courses taken on specific vehicles. Recorded systems that the driver regularly checks that his vehicle is fit for purpose and adheres to any maintenance or legal testing services.

The Risk FactorsDocumented systems should be set up clearly depicting the safe systems of working practice and highlighting the risk factors of Driver Fatigue, Driver Authorisation, Driver Licence Checks, distraction of ancillary products like mobile phones and GPS, Carrying of Passengers, Speeding and the effects of, Drugs and Alcohol misuse, Completing and updating of daily vehicle checks, Vehicle breakdown procedure, hiring of vehicles, correct recording of vehicle maintenance, emergency procedures for breakdown and incidents, Strict procedures for securing of vehicle loads, Strict procedures for security of the vehicle, Procedures and classification of towing for specific vehicles, Correct use of safety equipment in the vehicle. Road procedures on reversing, parking, collisions and near misses. The importance of personal safety and correct use of protective equipment, procedures on working alone, handling of vehicles in adverse weather conditions, Correct procedures for loading, unloading, uncoupling and coupling vehicles, The use of specialised equipment like attached lifting equipment, The correct procedure for refuelling, The contractual use of agency and contract drivers, Human Resource procedures on recruitment, driver evaluation and performance.

Dealing with Driver FatigueOne in Ten of all drivers surveyed have admitted to nodding off or falling asleep while driving. Over half of Irish Drivers approx…53% attempt to fight tiredness through ineffective means such as opening windows. Driver fatigue is one cause of work-related road collisions and a factor that all driver employees should take into account when assessing their ability to drive and the risk of having an incident. In cases of extreme tiredness a driver can fall asleep at the wheel. It is the responsibility of management to ensure drivers receive proper rest before they start work and they do not become too tired during their driving duties. Tiredness can be caused by not having enough rest both before and during a journey, spending too long hours driving without breaks, driving at night, having rests in unfamiliar surroundings, experiencing vehicle vibration and putting up with uncomfortable driving positions and seating.

Driver fatigue can be dealt with by planning schedules so that drivers can sleep and when they best need to for example at night. That there is enough time built into time schedules to allow for delays and incidents. Allowing drivers to make up for the regular lack of sleep by taking breaks between schedules, regulating shifts long shifts on one day allowing a longer resting period by giving a shorter shift the next day or a later start. Also planning eating, break rests, travelling to and from work and general family life.

In conclusionWhen evaluating Driving for Work Policy. The three key areas are the Driver, the Vehicle and the Journey.

The driverYou must take into account Driver Competency as the RSA Road Collision Fact Book 2007 states that driver error was a factor in over 82% of fatal collisions. So the driver must have the relevant experience, a valid driving licence, is aware of company policy for driving for work and meets the required standards for the job. The driver should be familiar the vehicle, its equipment taking into account trailers, lifting equipment, and any control mechanisms. They have the ability to accept training and assessment taking into account work safety, particularly if at risk. The driver must have received and understood how to use all safety equipment and respond to crisis such as collision, is familiar with their vehicle, its features and up to standard on road safety.

The health and fitness of the driver is checked regularly. Particularly when he signs in for work the he is safe to drive and is not putting himself and others at risk.

The VehicleIt’s suitability it meets all the legal requirements for example has a valid NCT certificate and Insurance for its class. The vehicle is regularly serviced as per the manufacturer’s instructions. The driver has easy access to all the safety critical information of the vehicle. The vehicle offers the best ergonomic factors for driver comfort and safety.

The JourneyThe journeys for work should be evaluated taking in to account the following factors. Route planning so the safest and more suitable is taken, looking at factors such a motorways, bridges, tunnels overhead restrictions, peak traffic flows and level crossings. The scheduling of the journey allows for the correct rest breaks, allows for possible delays, taking into account the standard and experience of the driver. Journey planning should take into account seasonal weather conditions and company policy on bad weather conditions.

All good journey plans should evaluated with the following questions. Can the journey be avoided, Stays overnight, shared journeys, the control and checking of driver hours and control and checking of speeds and distances drivers travel.

In conclusion the two major benefits to the overall community of safe driving is a)Reducing the chance of road collisions protecting employees safety and preventing risk of injury or death, thus reducing significant costs from trauma, sickness, bereavement and dependency leave. b) Showing commitment to Corporate social Responsibility this protecting lives in the community, thus improving public image.