We have previously written about the responsibilities of employers when their staff “drive for work”.
A real challenge in such situations is that many people – employers and employees alike – fail to understand what “driving for work” really means and consequently expose themselves to significant risk.
While this is important and employers cannot neglect their legal responsibilities, it is also critical that a true partnership develops between the employer and employees to ensure that the necessary steps are taken.
In 2017 the Irish Independent reported on a study which showed some shocking findings on basic driver awareness and preparedness. This included the following:
- 39% of drivers never checked tyre tread
- 31% of drivers failed to check oil levels
- 35% of drivers neglected to check whether brake lights are functioning
- 42% of drivers failed to check fuel levels before leaving on a long journey
- 33% of drivers didn’t know whether their vehicle had a spare tyre (and 37% didn’t know if their car had a jack!)
Unfortunately, the report did not tell us whether these drivers worked for companies with suitable or effective policies, but let’s assume for a moment two key scenarios: where the employer either has a suitable policy in place or does not have a suitable policy in place.
In the first instance, where a suitable policy is not in place, the employer would arguably have significant responsibility for allowing them to drive for work without having suitable knowledge of their vehicle and of the basic parameters of safe driving. Should an accident or incident happen while they are driving for work then the employer would carry significant liability.
In the second instance, where a suitable policy is in place and training has taken place, it could well be argued that the employer has discharged their responsibilities. If the employee does not maintain sufficient knowledge of their vehicle and carry out the necessary checks despite a clear policy being in place, then to an extent they must bear a degree of responsibility.
The lesson for employers, however, is that it is not enough just to have a policy in place: they must ensure that their employees follow it. That said, and as the saying goes, you can leave a horse to water…
ISM Training’s specialist Fleet Division is highly experienced in all aspects of driving for work. We support Ireland’s largest organisations – private, state and semi-state – with the implementation of fleet training solutions to ensure that both that their legal obligations are met but more importantly that their employees are able to drive safely and effectively when carrying out their duties and “driving for work”.
If you would like to learn more about how ISM Training and our Fleet Division can help you, call our friendly Customer Care Team today. Our friendly customer Customer Care Team can be contacted on 01 864 1790 and they would be delighted to discuss the consultancy and training options with you.