6 June 2017 | Adam Gomes
Last year saw several high-profile fatal vehicle road traffic incidents (RTIs) in the news, many involving commercial vehicles.
Such incidents highlighted concern for many companies on their policies for driving on company business and have led to what some would argue is excessive paperwork, especially for vehicle checks - the thinking being that this would prevent accidents and keep them within the law.
A client asked me to meet its transport manager to evaluate the 'driving at work' policy. I noticed that there were a large number of pre-use checks in place before any member of staff used the van. I timed this procedure at 50 minutes. I asked if this check was carried out each time the vehicle was used and was assured it was.
I spot-checked the process on three occasions and found that staff were carrying out the main four or five points and just ticking off all the rest. They felt that the pre-use checks were over the top and you wouldn't carry them out on your own vehicle. They also said they were on a strict time limit for deliveries.
I suggested to the manager that they make the vehicle check monthly so enough time could be made to carry it out properly and that a user-friendly pre-use vehicle check was implemented along with staff training. The manager rejected my advice.
This seems to be a trend with companies whereby they do not heed information in the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 about making health and safety 'reasonably practicable'. This means balancing the level of risk against the measures needed to control the real risk in terms of money, time or trouble.
Institute monthly vehicle checks - pre-use vehicle checks, driver training, risk assessments, licensing checks and a servicing/MoT schedule - to reduce risks.
Try out procedures with staff to get their views and together come up with a procedure that meets safety and legal requirements.
Government - Commercial vehicle safety and maintenance guides
Adam Gomes is HSQE manager for Altius VA