Dr Jim Golby is Director of Research and Customer Experience for multi-award winning Global Driver Risk Management Consultancy, Applied Driving Techniques. He is also a member of the European Transport Safety Council’s Expert Panel and Brake’s Global Fleet Champions Steering Group and has been involved with Work Related Road Risk since 2004. In this article he highlights the opportunities and benefits for Employers as their staff begin to return to work Post Lockdown.

Introduction

The coming of Covid-19 has resulted in a reduction of road vehicle activity back to levels associated with the 1950’s!

Combine the much-anticipated return to work with the restrictions to Public Transport and difficulties related to Car Sharing Schemes due to social distancing requirements and the number of business journeys driven by employees is likely to significantly increase beyond pre-Covid-19 levels.

This will result in:

  1. More inexperienced business drivers
  2. More employees using their own vehicles for business
  3. Employees who normally drove for business pre-lockdown will not have driven seriously for several months, so many are likely to be ‘out of practice’
  4. Increased use of Pool Cars.

How could this impact your business?

The predictable rise in Grey Fleet and higher risk drivers is of particular significance to Employers post Lockdown. HSE Regulations encompass all employees driving on company business, irrespective of whether the journey is undertaken in a company sourced, hired or driver owned vehicle and means the Employer has a clearly defined legal obligation to ensure all their drivers are kept safe when driving on business and that their vehicles are safe to be driven and both the driver and vehicle are legally entitled to be on the road.

Driving requires regular practice. It can be reasonably predicted that as more people return to the road there is likely to be an increase in incidents over and above pre-Covid 19 levels. Making drivers aware of this possibility and providing them with guidance and training will help mitigate the problem.

“Protecting the safety of both our drivers and other road users is of paramount importance to the Post Office. Since the on-set on C-19 our drivers have in fact actually been busier than ever and so we have recently launched a new ‘Driver Safety Training Programme’ across all our Depots and business area’s. Nothing is more important than ensuring each of our staff gets home safely every day.”

Andrew Steadman, National Fleet Audit Manager

Post Office

What Next?

The Health and Safety Executive (UK) and HSA (Ireland) first designated ‘Driving at Work’ as an ‘at work activity’ in 2004. Unfortunately, audits that we have completed on behalf of many organisations indicate that it is still an area of employee safety that is poorly managed. This is especially true for Grey Fleet drivers.

The lack of a robust WRRR Process means that some employees could be driving fro work illegally. Employers may also be permitting employees to drive vehicles that are potentially uninsured for ‘business use’, unsafe due to lack of regular servicing/maintenance or with no Road Taxed/MOT’. Historically we have found that about 12% of drivers fall in one or more of these categories.

As they plan for a post-Lockdown return to work companies have an ideal opportunity to review their current WRRR practices and remedy any concerns.

“The Lanes Group are fully committed to providing the safest possible working environment for all of our colleagues 24/7. We have recently launched a new WRRR Compliance, Safety and Training Programme” to help enhance the safety and wellbeing of all of our on-business drivers and would encourage all Employers to ensure they are fully addressing their WRRR responsibilities and playing their part in keeping our roads as safe as possible.”

“The Lanes Group are fully committed to providing the safest possible working environment for all of our colleagues 24/7. We have recently launched a new WRRR Compliance, Safety and Training Programme” to help enhance the safety and wellbeing of all of our on-business drivers and would encourage all Employers to ensure they are fully addressing their WRRR responsibilities and playing their part in keeping our roads as safe as possible.”

Andy Brierley, Group Director

The Lanes Group

What does a best practice Work Related Road Risk process look like?

WRRR is a significant business risk and as such should be addressed with its own Policy within the Employers wider HSE approach.

The WRRR Process should:

  • Assess driver competence and provide targeted training
  • Confirm whether the driver is legally allowed to drive on company business (including insurance checks)
  • Ensure that any vehicles used are safe to drive (and insured for business).
  • Include a ‘specific authorisation’ that the employee can drive on business (‘Permit to Drive’)
  • Be undertaken annually
  • Provide regular communications to reinforce the importance of WRRR and highlight the Employers commitment to protecting its staff

“Hitachi Capital Vehicle Solutions (HCVS) recognise the necessity for Employers to protect their staff when driving on business and ensuring they are compliantly addressing their statutory H&S obligations related to WRRR. As developing and managing an effective ‘in-house’ WRRR Process can be complex and time consuming, we have recently partnered with ADT to offer our clients access to their fully managed on-stop WRRR Compliance and Driver Safety Service. This service has already helped a number of our clients win awards and recognition over recent years.’

Paulo Parkman, Head of Fleet Consultancy

Hitachi Capital Vehicle Solutions

“Driver safety is a huge focus for Amey and we have witnessed a 38% reduction in vehicle incidents in just 12 months as a result of our increased focus on WRRR/Driver Safety. We have also achieved a significant reduction in incident and insurance related costs, improved operational efficiency and less vehicle downtime. Amey will also be providing our drivers with additional driver safety support and training as they start to return to the road.”

Julie Davies Group Fleet and Plant Manager

Amey

“At Jacobs, we are committed globally to the safety of our employees who drive for work. This is a commitment supported from the very top of the business with a focus on each driver as an individual. By continuously and proactively enhancing WRRR activities in partnership with ADT, we have significantly reduced the number of miles drive for work and reduced the number of motor vehicle incidents. We are currently exploring the benefits of new technology and have a detailed “Return to Business Driving Post Lockdown” Plan ready for launch.”

Jennifer Yaxley Head of Safety - Cities and Places

Jacobs

How can you prepare for the easing of lockdown?

  • Review your current WRRR Process
  • Ensure your WRRR Process encompasses Grey Fleet drivers
  • Confirm a Senior Level ‘Reponsible Person’
  • Consider bespoke training on individual driver risk profiles
  • Develop a “Return to Business Driving Programme” to support driver who have been off the road for several weeks/months
  • Decide what your Company Guidance will be reference the use of Public Transport/Car Sharing Schemes etc.

“Ensuring employees have access to the right transport, at the right time and in the right place is key to managing a successful return to work. Enterprise is working with employers to design return to work programmes and policies that deliver the optimal balance of safety, cost and compliance for their organisation. Our experience shows that the best way to ensure engagement and uptake of these programmes, is to empower employees to make the right decisions through a combination of education and technology.”

Adrian Bewley, AVP Business Rental

Enterprise Rent-A-Car

In Summary

We know that driving is a high-risk activity, and work ADT have carried out with clients shows that on average nearly 12% of company drivers are driving illegally (often unwittingly). This is a significant risk for Employers.

Post Lockdown and with the likely increase in new company drivers using their own (Grey Fleet) vehicle plus with many drivers returning to business driving ‘out of practice’ this risk (to both Employers and Employees) will only increase.

Now is the ideal time for Employers to address how they manage WRRR and protect their staff and corporate reputation before most staff return to driving at work on business.

IHE Member Offer

ADT would like to support IHE Member Companies to proactively address WRRR Post Lockdown. As such, ADT are delighted to provide Member Co’s with the following:

  1. Access to a Free and fully managed on-line ‘Driver Safety Training Programme’ (inc. Fatigue, Speed Awareness and Emotional Distraction Modules) which could form part of a “Return to Business Driving Programme”.
  2. Free practical advice and guidance on the implementation and management of the necessary fully legally compliant “best practice” WRRR related Processes and Policies and which typically deliver ADT clients with a reduction in accidents of 30-40% in Year 1. (Note: available to the first 25 responding Member Companies).

If you would like to take advantage of this exclusive IHE Member offer, simply contact ADT’s Dr Jim Golby via your chosen method below:

Email: drjim.golby@applied-driving.com
Mobile: +44 (0) 7768 776128
Web: www.applieddriving.co.uk