7th January 2008


 Issue No.  2008/01




Are you covered?

In a concerted effort to reduce the 1000 fatal crashes a year involving work vehicles, the police investigate ‘killed or seriously injured’ road traffic accidents as crime scenes.  If the vehicles involved are being driven for work related purposes, the police will investigate the employer to determine whether basic safety checks have been carried out. This means:
Employers found to have neglected their responsibilities could be charged under the Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act from April 2008.
Insurance Companies will be able to pass liability for accidents on to employers if they are found to have incomplete paperwork and insurance.
Employers can still be liable for accidents caused by those employees that use their own vehicle (if they have opted out of receiving a company vehicle but receive a car allowance instead) and are travelling on company business at the time of the accident.
Health and safety law does not apply to home to work travel, unless the employee is travelling from their home to a location which is not their usual place of work.
What should Employers do?
We genuinely hope that neither you nor any of your drivers are involved in any serious accidents, but if there was an accident and with the police and insurance companies looking to see if the Employer is held liable, we recommend that an appropriate policy be in place backed up with appropriate risk assessments.
As a starting point, we advise Employers to be satisfied that:
  • you have a suitable and sufficient risk assessment in place,
  • your drivers have the appropriate licence for the type of vehicle they drive,
  • your drivers are competent and capable of doing their work in a way that is safe for them and other people,
  • your drivers are sufficiently fit and healthy to drive safely and not put themselves or others at risk,
  • vehicles are fit for the purpose for which they are used,
  • vehicles are (regularly) maintained in a safe and fit condition,
  • vehicles are appropriately insured (e.g. class 1 business use),
  • safety equipment is properly fitted and maintained,
  • drivers have access to information that will help them reduce risks,
  • drivers’ health and safety is not being put at risk, e.g. from inappropriate seating position or driving posture,
  • you plan routes thoroughly,
  • work schedules are realistic,
  • sufficient time is allowed to complete journeys safely,
  • drivers will not be put at risk from fatigue caused by driving excessive distances without appropriate breaks,
  • sufficient consideration is given to adverse weather conditions, such as snow or high winds, when planning journeys.



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