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IF you are an SME and employ more than five people who drive on company business, then you’re responsible for their safety.

It’s all to do with compliance’. It means you have to be able to demonstrate that you meet your responsibilities under Occupational Road Risk, Health and Safety, Duty of Care and Corporate Manslaughter legislation.

Compliance with these is something that every business needs to recognise and act upon, to ensure they never get caught in the non-compliance trap.

Doing nothing is not an option.

If the worst happens, and one of your drivers is involved in an accident while on company business, you need to be able to demonstrate that you have understood and acted upon your responsibilities.

If you end up in a court and you can’t, then you could get a hefty fine and face remedial and publication orders.

Even if none of your drivers has an accident, the Health and Safety Executive can come knocking expecting to see all driver records and the audit trails of training and assessments.

Driving at work policy

If you employ drivers, you must, by law, have a company Driving At Work’policy.

If you haven’t got one, get one, and nominate a Director to be responsible for Health and Safety and employed driver compliance.

You must show a Duty of Care towards the drivers you employ, irrespective of whether they drive company owned vehicles or use their own – the so-called grey fleet.

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This includes all drivers who drive on company business – even occasionally and you must demonstrate that you have taken reasonable steps to ensure that they are safe.

Keep records for each and every employed driver starting with copies of drivers’ licences, and if they use their own vehicles rather than company vehicles you must keep records of the vehicles too.

That includes service records, insurance documents, VED, and MOTs where relevant. It must all be close at hand should these ever be required by the Police and/or the Health and Safety Executive.

Driver risk assessment

All employees who drive as part of their employment should be assessed and the easiest way to get this done is online is by using a provider who offers assessments and remedial training as part of an online package.

This closes a potential loophole where a company finds a specific driver has been assessed as high risk and doesn’t act on that information straight away and get the driver trained.

The next stage of compliance is driver training but it should only be needed if a driver is found to be at risk during their assessment.

Online training is again cost effective and ensures total consistency across the board where every driver gets exactly the same training.

For those drivers who carry out specialist tasks it may be necessary to understake one-to-one training.

Annual checks

Annual undertakings will allow a safety culture to become ingrained within the company and also means you get to know if any employee has racked up some penalty points in the past 12 months.

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