Performance & Risk Assessment

Performance-Risk-AssessmentHow are you Measuring Performance? Is the company meeting the standards required by the Driving For Work legislation. What controls are in place to monitor successes and failures, so praise or correction can take place?

Monitoring can take place by analysing incident reports, reviewing driver licences on a regular basis for entries such as penalty points or out of date driver classification, also encourage gentleman agreements on notifying management of any change in driver related health problems or offences that may have occurred after a review. The importance of vehicle tracking devices and data recording for better management of route planning and travel time. Regular health checks etc.

It is good practice to keep historical records of Driver performance, health and vehicle checks along with near misses and all types collisions so that in serious cases historical records will help to see if there was a possibility of corrective action that may have been missed for future training purposes.

All driving programmes should be reviewed statistically on a moving monthly basis so that either improvement can be made or certain phenomena can be tracked and corrected at an early stage if possible.

The Safety Factor must be part of a company culture giving a measured, managed, conscious process to team effort relating to identify cause and then correcting constructively and be viewed as important as profit.

What is Risk Assessment?The company identifies all hazards deciding and assessing the risks that these hazards may pose to the employees’ health and safety. Thus taking what necessary action is needed to prevent or reduce this risk. When carrying out risk assessment this will allow the company to examine anything the workplace that could potentially be of harm to the employee. By measuring the level of risk the company can decide if it is acceptable or whether preventative action should be taken like warning signs to prevent or lessen the risk of harm. All risk assessments must be documented and be assessed by an appointed person who has all the necessary skills and qualifications to carry out the assessment. Therefore best practice in managing driving for work takes place.

What is the difference between a hazard and a risk?A hazard is anything that can cause harm in terms of injury or ill-health to a person, damage to property, damage to the environment or a combination of all of the above.

A risk is the likelihood that a collision may occur if the hazard is not dealt with. The level of risk depends on the severity of the harm that will be suffered if the proper procedures are not put into place to deal with the hazard.

Steps to carrying out a Driving for Work assessmentFirstly you would list all the types of vehicle that the company uses, including the employee’s own vehicle if used for work. Then you would identify the journeys the drivers are carrying out like short or long distance predominantly, frequency of driving, what routes are used, local, and national or motorways. Is the driving urban, city, town or country, predominately daytime or night-time? Also what is the purpose of the journey and can it be avoided. Is the journey to a meeting, an emergency response, delivery, sales etc.?

Look at the hazards associated with the three elements of driving for work. a) The driver, b) the vehicle and c) the journey. The possible hazards that of the driver would include age, experience, training, mental ability and skills, stress/fatigue, health, fitness and use of drugs and alcohol.

The vehicle its roadworthiness, distractions such as ancillary equipment like mobile phone, the drivers familiarity and training on the vehicle, the restrictions that come with the vehicle like loading, the condition of the vehicle and the vehicle safety restrictions.

The journey, what possible hazards could include road types, distances, and time allocated to driving, the actual time of travel including the high risk hours like mornings, evenings, dusk, weather conditions, speed limits, road conditions and driver’s familiarity with route. It is important to involve employees, drivers and safety representatives in the assessment as they will have first-hand experience of what really happens in practice.

In deciding these risk factors consideration should be taken for passengers and other road users. There would be greater risk with young or newly qualified drivers, particularly where long distances are involved.

Have you built in factors for vehicle crash or breakdown, falling asleep at the wheel, the influence of alcohol or drugs; correct loading of vehicle and loads falling off, the distraction of ancillaries in the vehicle? How much pressure is the driver put under for traffic congestion, road works and other instances that effect journey time and put the driver under greater pressure?

Assessing the risk factorsLook at what measures are in place at the moment and can they be improved on to prevent an incident happening. For instance can the risk be avoided by the journey being avoided and video conferencing be used or taking public transport. Lessen the risk by the use high quality and accessible safety equipment, use vehicles with the highest Euro NCAP rating. Make sure the vehicles and any trailers are fully serviced, in good condition and roadworthy. Ensure the work is adapted to the employee.

Don’t create situations where employees feel under pressure to get to a destination. Give adequate time and planning to reach the destination, returning safely. Ensure that the Rules of the Road are obeyed; driving times, breaks, rest periods and related activities encourage the driver to obey the rules. Ensure all vehicles meet the required safety standards or replace them immediately.

All drivers must attend instruction and training courses related to that vehicle and have a certificate of competence before they can you use the vehicle as it is their place of work. The driver must have the correct licence class for the vehicle; adhere to company policy and safe systems of work. That all documentation is correct and up to date before the vehicle leaves the premises for that particular journey. Provide the necessary safety equipment to protect employees ensuring that employees using bicycles or motorcycles have the highest quality of protective clothing and equipment. That all employees that are road users have high-visibility jackets or vests, correct footwear etc. and that there is easy access to all equipment and that it is maintained, serviced and replaced when required. Access to all safety equipment must at all times be accessible within the vehicle.

The recording of any findingsIt is of great asset if all finding are recorded and documented. So all risk assessments should recorded showing any weaknesses in any control measures, drawing up a plan of action to prioritise and put in to place an improved controlled measure. Employees must be informed of findings and be updated on new procedures and changes.

ReviewsAll risk assessments must be reviewed on a regular basis. Risk assessments must be carried out for driving tasks ranging from travelling to meetings to delivering goods. The employee should have the right knowledge and training to carry out their own risk assessment before starting a journey. For example the vehicle check list.