As COVID restrictions have come to an end, there seems to be an uptick in traffic on the roads leveling towards pre-pandemic levels as more and more of us use the roads and motorways since February 2022 as we have been returning to work as businesses and organizations do the best to get back to normal. Plus the additional rail strikes have made things slightly busy too.
Trades people, delivery drivers, health and social care workers, taxis, coach drivers, as well as more cyclists on the road.
As the daily commute returns, hospitality opens up, retail returns and eCommerce habits continue. At the same time many local authorities have reconfigured their city centers to include more cycle and bus lanes, pedestrian areas and electric charger points, with some also introducing clear air zones.
Drivers are also having to get used to recently introduced changes to the highway code to navigate an increasingly complex diverse array of vehicle and fuel types. Against this backdrop it makes sense to pause and assess your health and safety practices when it comes to driver policies, and how they should be adapted.
Driving for work. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is clear in managing risks to employees who drive at work. It requires more than just a compliance with road safety. It also requires employees to take any appropriate steps to ensure the health and safety of employees and others who may be affected by their activities while at work. This also includes the time when they’re driving or riding at work, whether this is in the company or a hired vehicle or in the employee’s own vehicles. There’s always risks associated with driving. Although these cannot be completely controlled, an employee has to take responsibility for all reasonable steps to manage these risks and do everything reasonably practical to protect people from harm in the same as they would in the workplace.
So, what’s new? The pandemic supply chain issues, climate change. There seems to be disruption on our transport systems on a weekly basis. One thing’s for certain, change is accelerating and your duty of care over your drivers needs to keep up.
There are new highway code rules, including introduction of the new risk based hierarchy of road users, which means that drivers, regardless of what vehicle they drive, have to be more responsible to be aware of pedestrians and cyclists.
The introduction of new electrical vehicles. The Government’s committed to investing billions of pounds in a nationwide network of 300,000 public electric charging points by 2030. The increasing number of electric vehicles being introduced into fleets makes it critically important for drivers to be educated on the unique operation, maintenance and driving strategies required to maximize safety and efficiency. When it comes to electric mobility we’re also seeing e-scooters being introduced into our towns and cities as local authorities to explore public rental trials. As our city centers are transformed they are likely to become a part of the solution as well as supporting trips to meetings as an increasingly visible part of the urban mobility landscape.
Looking at the risk factors. Anyone who drives to work will have to pass their driving test, and the employer needs to check they have the appropriate license. They must check that they have the appropriate license and they must check it at regular intervals to identify any penalties that indicate illegal or reckless behavior. Poor driving habits can also impact on vehicle performance, wear and tear, fuel and maintenance costs. Driver safety can present a significant risk to U.K. businesses and organizations simply because of so many failed to take the basic steps required to fulfill their obligations.
Those who drive as part of their jobs also work in sectors where there is significant job vacancies so the driver behavior, coaching and training industry has undergone significant transformation over the past couple of years.
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