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Frequently asked questions on
Driver Training and Risk Assessments

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  1. Q. Why are driver risk assessments and training required?

    A. To ensure the safety, health and wellbeing of you, your employee's and all those involved within your workplace, or because of any actions outside of your workplace (i.e. other road users if you use company vehicles)

  2. Q. Surely, if an employee has a current driving licence then they must be sufficiently qualified to drive and need no further training?
    A. A driving test pass, is only a statement that the person is "competent to continue learning on their own" and the presence of a driving licence does not guarantee that the driver is trained in all aspects of motoring. As an example: Have they received any formal instruction on how to drive at night or in conditions of poor visibility? Yet, most employers naturally assume they have! Wrong!!!

  3. Q. What training do I need to provide for my drivers?
    A. Quite simply, refresher training! We all forget things! Something that can be as risk crtical as driving, requires a wide ranging syllabus, it often used to be called "Defensive Driving" Nowadays, the whole process is called "Managing Occupational Road Risk"

  4. Q. Is "Managing Occupational Road Risk" likely to cost my organisation a great deal of money and wasted time?

    A. No, a lot of the work can, and should be done in-house, things like checking the currency and validity of your drivers licences, to ensure they are legally still entitled to drive your company vehicles. Formally risk-assessing your own drivers can also be completed in-house, providing you have key staff with the knowledge, skills and understanding to carry out this task in an impartial and professional manner.
    However, driver training in cars on public roads can only be carried out by approved driving instructors

  5. Q. Is there a legal requirement to complete driver risk assessments?

    A. Yes, It was an initial requirement of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 to take "reasonably practicable" measures to safeguard employees and others. The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999, also specified that risk assessments must be recorded if there were five or more employees, and that the information should be shared with those employee's and others involved.

  6. Q. I am self employed, do I need to conduct risk assessments?

    A. Yes, even if you are self employed and work on your own, you must complete risk assessment for all parts of your work, but! you do not have to record them. So at the very least you must consider them, and decide on the appropriate responces to reduce any risk.

  7. Q. What is the difference in driving terms between "a hazard" and "a risk"?

    A. A hazard is anything that may cause harm, such as poor weather conditions like fog, or driving too close to the vehicle in front, etc; and the risk is the chance, high or low, that somebody could be harmed by these and other hazards, together with an indication of how serious that harm could be.

  8. Q. Who is responsible for implementing the Driver Risk Assessment process?
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    A. Put simply, "the responsible person" who is probably the employer, or manager in a workplace, or any other person who may have control of any or all of the vehicles or drivers.

  9. Q. What if a risk assessment is not undertaken or recorded, who is responsible, and what are the implications?

    a) The outcomes can be minor, to wide ranging and disruptive, depending on the circumstances of the event.
    b) In the event of a minor accident or incident involving one of your staff or a member of the public, you could be reported to the authorities, who may take the necessary and appropriate action.
    c) The enforcing authority, usually the HSE, Police or local authority, may decide to issue a formal notice indicating what is required to conform and must be completed within a prescribed timescale.
    d) In serious circumstances, authorities can put in place a prohibition notice which may restrict the type of work involved, or all work processes at the premises until steps are implemented to reduce the risk to a satisfactory level.
    e) In the event of a tragedy or very severe infringement, action may be taken against the intial "responsible person(s)" but may also include advisors, equipment providers, sub contractors or any other person(s) who may have some involvement in the risk process.

  10. Q. What are the key points in a Risk Assessment?

    A. There are five main parts to a comprehensive assessment
    a) Identify and prioritise the hazards
    b) Identify people at risk
    c) Evaluate, remove, reduce and protect from risk
    d) Record, plan, inform, instruct and train (if required)
    e) Review regularly

  11. Q. What is the most important thing to do to prevent accidents happening?

    A. Change attitudes.....
    Too many people think "it will never happen to me, its always somebody else". Free advice is given by the Health and Safety Executive, including codes or practice which illustrate the minimum standards to assist compliance in key areas, use them to your advantage.
    Teach your employees how to adopt a safety culture by demonstrating your companies proactive approach and committment to a permanent reduction in accident rates.

  12. Q. How can I be sure my assessor is suitably competent for the task in hand?

    A. Ask them about their safety experience, both theoretical and practical. What recent health and safety qualifications or training they can show you, do they belong to a national organisation or trade body, whom they have previously worked for, and are they fully insured?

  13. What is the definition of competence as defined by The Health and Safety Executive?

    A. Even the HSE can be vague about the true definition of what makes a competent person In all honesty, it will probably only be decided by a member of the judicary, when things go wrong....!!

  14. Q. Who has the right to view a driver risk assessment report?

    A. All risk assessments should be shared with the people for whom they are designed to protect, i.e. the drivers themselves, so all assessments must be open and honest, they must not be used to achieve subsiduary outcomes, ie disciplinary charges. The results of the assessmenet must be made known to the individual concerned as soon as practible, along with any feedback that will assist them to improve their standard of driving if required. As the assessment forms part of a legal process, and a requirement of that is to "inform, instruct and train" (if required) all those involved. This should mean employees or their accreddited (safety) representatives. Not forgetting those who also have a legal right, local authorities, health and safety inspectors, and the Police, who may rquest to view all risk assessments in the aftermath of a serious accident!!!.

  15. Q. What should I do with the driver risk rating I have now?

    A. Depending on the level of risk indicated, high to low. In the very worse scenario, consider if you should let that person continue to drive your company vehicle on the road? Your assessor should have given you an indication if they could be trained out of their dangerous habits, if so, give them a period of time to allow them to adopt the good practices and reduce the bad ones. After a month say, have them re-assessed, and if there is no improvement, it may be foolish to let them continue on the road!
    If they have score low risk, consider having them re-assessed in two to three years time, providing they do not have any accidents and drive no more than an average driver on business use.

  16. Q. Who can carry out the practical Driver Risk Assessment process?

    A. Perhaps yourself, as the employer or manager, or you may wish to delegate it to another person you deem as "competent", but it must be someone with enough training and experience, or knowledge and other qualities to be able to implement these measures fairly and correctly, with tact!
    You may prefer to outsource this delicate task to a "competent person" who is local external professional assessor, (ie your local fleet training provider) who has the skills, knowledge and understanding in current workplace driving techniques, as well as being unbiased !

  17. Q. What should the driver risk assessment report contain?

    A. It should state clearly the drivers personal details, date and time of the assessment, and the level of risk rating, which may be graded high to low, or have a numerical value. If the person is classed as high risk, there must be an indication of what circumstances constituted that grading. You also need a clear indication of the candidates ability or willngnesss to improve and adopt new training, not always easy when you have been driving for many years!
    It always helps to get the candidate to sign the written report together with any comments that they may wish to make, a right of reply is in the best interest of all.

  18. Q. How long does Risk Assessment report last?

    A. How long is a piece of string? There is no determinable date or length of time for any written driver risk assessment report, it should be seen as a "living document" and kept up to date as ciurcumstances dictate. If the driver has a number of accidents, or they return to work after a prolonged break or illness, or the vehicle changes substantially, then another driver risk assessment must be considered, and ion any cas reviwed after two to three years. It also depends on how much risk there is, the more risk the more it should be updated and reviewed.

  19. Q. How much does an intial Driver Risk Assessment cost from yourselves?

    A. See our prices webpage The cost can vary depending on how fair you wish to make the assessment, you can observe a driver from one hour up to a full day, the longer they are assessed the motre balanced it will be. When under assessment or observation we all tend to suffer frok some nerves or apprehension. Ideally the day should consist of some form of initial assessment followed by some driver training, ideally in the same type of environment that the driver uses regularly, ie motorways, town driving etc; Then a final or summative assessment to give the driver their overall risk grading.

  20. Q. What does a risk assessment report look like?

    A. There can be many variations in its presentation. Click here to view a sample copy of our style Driver Assessment Sample

This list of frequently asked questions, is not meant to be a definitive legal guide or interpretation of the current legislation, but is merely provided to give our commonsense definition, if you are in any doubt please seek legal advice before entering into any committment or contract.

You can contact us at any time, for free advice on any transport training matter, or just call
T 0151 708 6089. M 07719 942250.

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