Article date: 5 March 2008
Fleets should tighten their risk management strategies ahead of the introduction of the Corporate Manslaughter & Corporate Homicide Act 2007 coming into force on 6 April 2008, warns Norwich Union Risk Services (NURS).
Following research that 65% of company vehicles are involved in road accidents*, Steve Palmer, motor risk manager for NURS, is advising fleets to ensure they have adequate motor risk management strategies in place as failure to do so means they are likely to be hit hard come April 2008.
"With the introduction of the Act and where a fleet manager has breached duty of care obligations that leads to a fatality, not only will the firm be liable for fines (as much as 10% of the firm's annual turnover according to the Sentencing Advisory Panel), but they could also face damaging, negative publicity and the individual responsible for the fleet could face prosecution.
"Fleet managers should be looking at reviewing existing risk management strategies in line with current legislation in order to create effective measures ahead of the introduction of the Act to minimise risk and prevent prosecution."
The Health and Safety Executive suggests five basic principles for firms to follow. These include identifying hazards, deciding who might be harmed and how, evaluating the risks and deciding on the necessary precautions, recording and implementing findings, reviewing risk assessments and updating these where necessary.
Palmer continues: "These strategies need to be extended to minimise road risks. For instance, vetting and inducting all drivers to ensure that they are properly licensed, competent, suitably trained and medically fit to drive, as well as the suitable provision and maintenance of vehicles, journey planning and the recording and investigating of all accidents.
"Fleets could invest in telematics devices, which will allow managers to obtain comprehensive online duty of care reports, providing information about driver behaviour, speed, journey times, road types, mileage and claims information.
"Online reporting allows a business to look at and assess the information more regularly on specific vehicles or the whole fleet, and monitor and manage driver behaviour. Workplace transport as well as health and safety must also be assessed. For example, the number of vehicles moving around in a confined loading area or traffic management.
"The increased potential for prosecution under the Corporate Manslaughter & Corporate Homicide Act should motivate senior managers to take health and safety management even more seriously, particularly if running a fleet.
"Good risk management is good fleet management and the cost is far less than the cost of prosecution if a senior manager breaches their duty of care. Best practice should be incorporated into the management culture."
For further information, please contact:
Sam Bramwell at Staniforth on 0161 919 8024/077381 96667 or Sally Leeman at Norwich Union on 01603 684 225/07800 699 670.
Notes to editors:
*RoSPA research 2006
Norwich Union Risk Services
Norwich Union Risk Services is the specialist risk management division of Norwich Union that is dedicated to helping UK businesses manage their risks in an effective way.
They achieve this through their national team of approximately 180 staff which includes:
- Risk advisers and specialists - Who visit commercial properties across the UK to help identify risks and recommend dynamic and practical risk management solutions for Norwich Union's insured customers.
- Safety consultants - Who provide expert health, safety and environmental training and consultancy services.
Norwich Union's news releases and a selection of images are available on the Aviva internet press centre at www.aviva.com/media.