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Vehicle Safety Checks - What Can You do to Protect Your Staff?

In 2015 alone, of the 45,859 work-related road casualties, more than 500 people were killed and almost 5,000 were seriously injured while more than 40,000 people were slightly injured in collisions that involved a driver (or passenger) driving for work purposes. It is therefore crucial that you take steps to help reduce the risks associated with driving at work. To achieve that, you can start with employees' driving record checks and vehicle checks, especially if you have drivers that spend their entire day driving (i.e. maintenance workers or company representatives).

Motor Vehicle Record Checks

First of all, make sure your drivers are:

  • Competent to perform their on-road duties in a safe (for both them and others) manner.
  • Healthy and sufficiently fit to drive safely.
  • Capable of demonstrating good driving behaviour.
  • Properly trained so that they can carry out their duties safely.

Check the driving records of all the employees that hit the road for work purposes. Those with poor driving records should be screened out as they increase the risk of causing a problem in the future. It is best to review the Motor Vehicle Record frequently to make sure your employees' driving record remains stellar.

Daily “Walk Around” Vehicle Checks

All vehicles should be checked daily before the employee begins their trip. It is an effective and simple way to spot potentially hazardous issues before your fleet is used. Once you make it a habit, it won't take more than 5 minutes to complete these “walk-around” checks, which can be performed by the drivers themselves or a mechanic you trust. Here is a sample daily vehicle checklist that you could consider. However, you can create your own vehicle inspection routine depending on your specific requirements and, of course, types of vehicles you have in your fleet. For example, the checklist for van drivers to carry out is not the same as the one drivers of HGV (Heavy Goods Vehicles) must complete.

Note: Instruct your employees to conduct vehicle inspections both before and after the scheduled trip and report defaults (if any).

Vehicle Selection

When having a new addition to your company fleet, always select properly maintained vehicles that have also been routinely inspected. The vehicles should demonstrate “best in class” status for crash-worthiness.  You can find crash test ratings, along with other valuable information regarding vehicle safety at safercar.gov.

That aside, look for advanced safety features, such a rear-facing cameras, collision warning systems, adaptive cruise control, and lane departure warning systems. These can increase the safety of your employees when driving the company vehicles. You may also take ergonomic considerations into account (i.e the driving position and how easily or not the driver can access the controls) before leasing or buying new company vehicles.

Vehicle Maintenance

Routine preventive maintenance is also necessary to ensure all company vehicles are kept in excellent road-safe condition. Schedule maintenance checks (use a vehicle tracking system like RAM Tracking to remind you of important maintenance dates via email alert) of safety-related equipment at specific mileage intervals, always in accordance with manufacturer's recommendations, and have a mechanic do a thorough inspection of the vehicles, at least, once a year. Remember that an MOT certificate does not cover more than just basic defects (check out the MOT status of a vehicle here). Therefore, it does not guarantee the safety of a vehicle. This is why carrying out preventive maintenance is significant.

Finally, if your employees drive their own vehicles for company business, their maintenance is generally the owner's responsibility. Nevertheless, they should also be maintained in a manner that reflects positively on the company and, of course, provides the driver with maximum safety. 

Needless to say, all maintenance and repairs should be carried out to an acceptable standard.

Vehicle Transporting Materials Checks

If your drivers transport equipment or tools that could cause a road accident, ensure they are properly secured so that they cannot move around when they are being transferred. Do the same with any objects that may become a hazard. It should be noted that when the driver makes sudden maneuvers, any loose objects might become airborne or slide around. This could result in the injury of the driver and any passengers. The same can occur during a crash. Here is what you need to know if you are driving special loads or dangerous goods.

Managing the risks faced by your employees on the road through carefully-planned workplace driver safety programs and vehicle checks will help protect your organisation's financial and human resources.  

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