In June, Lord Young was appointed Adviser to the Prime Minister on Health and Safety law and practice, heralding a fresh review of policy. That should stimulate organisations to check their legislative compliance says Jeremy Gould, UK Country Manager for TomTom WORK
In 2007, the Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007 made directors personally liable for ensuring employees' safety at work and subject to jail sentences if shown to be negligent. Today, the Health and Safety Executive believes there are still a large number of businesses, especially small and medium-sized operations, which have not taken the action required to avoid falling foul of the law if called to account.
Jeremy Gould, UK Country Manager for TomTom WORK, believes this is an unnecessary risk to both employees and directors. ‘Every employer is required by law to develop Health & Safety (H&S) policies to minimise the risks to health and wellbeing of employees while at work: this is a company's 'Duty of Care' (DoC). In the event of a serious incident at work, the employer is required to produce an audit trail demonstrating its DoC policy minimised the risk to the employee. Without it, prosecution is almost a certainty and that can mean jail time for non-compliant directors.’
As part of an employer's DoC, they are not only required to implement a policy but also be able to prove they monitor and police that safety risk management system. Without these policies, companies and directors run a substantial risk.
While companies are used to applying this to the workplace, all too often, the same rigour is not applied to employees driving on company business. ‘What fleet operators can overlook is the working time limits include the hours employees spend behind the wheel of their vehicle getting to and from a job. Additionally, too few can demonstrate to the standard required in a court of law that their employees are expected to obey the speed limits and exhibit appropriate safe driving behaviour’ reveals Jeremy
There is a simple way to help demonstrate compliance, says Jeremy – telematics. ‘Detailed logs showing who was driving, how long for, how fast and whether they were employing harsh braking or steering inputs are automatically generated. Systems don't have to be expensive or complicated and when you balance the risk of jeopardising employee safety and going to jail with the costs of investment in telematics (which are quickly repaid) it's mindboggling that all companies don't employ the technology across their fleets’