There are three key aspects to take into consideration when risk assessing a fleet: the driver, the vehicle and the journey.
Looking at the drivers first of all, it is vital that any person driving for work should be fit, competent and authorised to do so. Companies should have a strict vetting and induction procedure for new employees to determine that this is the case, which includes driving license checks. To ensure that this is done effectively, the person doing the induction must also be competent so they know exactly what they are checking for.
In addition, a clear policy should be in place outlining the driver’s responsibilities. This should be discussed with all new employees as part of the induction and documented within a Drivers Handbook, which should be signed and retained within the vehicle at all times. Policies should also be regularly reviewed by the company and drivers re-assessed as with any safe systems of work.
The vehicle the fleet driver will be using is the second key aspect of a fleet risk assessment, ensuring that it is entirely suitable for the task it will be intended for and that the utmost importance is placed on safety features.
Ensuring the vehicle is ergonomically suitable is also important. For example, putting a six foot six employee who drives 30,000 miles a year in a small town car would not be comfortable or safe for the driver.
Companies need to ensure that all vehicles used on behalf of the company are compliant with legislation, regularly inspected and strictly maintained using the manufacturer’s recommended service schedules (and if applicable, in accordance with Operator’s licence requirements). The driver should be aware of their responsibility to carry out simple maintenance checks on a regular basis, such as the tyres, oil and water. Having a reporting system in place to record these checks helps ensure this is done.
The journey is the final aspect of a risk assessment to be considered. Every journey a fleet driver makes must be planned in advance, factoring in rest breaks where necessary to safely manage tiredness and fatigue. An employer should also consider whether the journey they are asking an employee to do is reasonable, or indeed, necessary.
The main issue when it comes to fleet driver safety is the management of the drivers and their journeys. Good fleet management is safe fleet management and the key is carrying out a risk assessment to ensure adequate procedures are in place and risks are minimised.
Further information and resources are available to you on our website. Of particular use to those with responsibility for managing fleets is our Motor Vehicle hardfacts series which is available in the Risk Advice section.