Take a look at these two examples of recent prosecutions!!Example one , and Example two
Here is a brief outline of some of the potential legislation you could fall foul of:
The Health and Safety Offences Act 2008 came into force on Friday, 16 January 2009. This new Act will increase penalties and provide courts with greater sentencing powers for those who break health and safety law, and is being welcomed by the Chair of the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).Judith Hackitt said:
This Act gives lower courts the power to impose higher fines for some health and safety offences. It is right that there should be a real deterrent to those businesses and individuals that do not take their health and safety responsibilities seriously. Everyone has the right to work in an environment where risks to their health and safety are properly managed, and employers have a duty in law to deliver this.
Health And Safety at Work Act 1974
Employers have a "duty of care" for the safety of employees at work, regardless of the type or size of the business.
There is also a duty of care to others who may be affected by their business activities, which, in the case of driving, means all other road users. You must also provide training to all your workforce, for all work activities.
Management of the Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999
Employers are required to carry out risk assessments on all activities within the the workplace, making arrangments to implement neccessary measures, appoint competent people and arrange for appropriate information and training.
The Workplace (Health, Safety And Welfare) Regulations 1992
These regulations cover a wide range of basic health, safety and welfare issues including traffic routes for vehicles within the workplace.
Road Traffic Acts Supported by the Hi-way Code
The Highway Code applies to all road users and includes information on signs and markings, road users, the law and driving penalties.
It is an offence for an organisation to set driver schedules which may cause them to break speed limits, misuse tachograph equipment or data, or have payment schemes which incentivise them to do so.
EC Drivers Hours Rules, UK Drivers Hours Rules
Tacograph Regulations. The Road Transport (Working Times) regulations 2005
It is the driver's and employer's responsibility to ensure compliance with driver's hours and Tacograph Regulations. They are applicable to goods vehicles in excess of 3.5 tonnes.
Tacographs must be used to record hours of driving, other work, breaks and rest periods. The newer digital tachograph record cards make this task simpler as they are more refined in capturing data.
The Road Vehicles (Construction and Use) Regulations 1996
Provides information regarding the safety of loads on vehicles, and the provision, conformity and type of lamps etc fitted to vehicles.
Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007
The act introduces an important new option for certain very serious senior management failures which result in fatality. Prosecutions will be of the corporate body, not individuals, but the ability to prosecute directors or other individuals under health and safety law, or the general criminal law, in appropriate cases, will be unaffected. The coporate body itself and individuals can also still be prosecuted for separate health and safety offences.
The first prosecution under this act has just taken place, with a fine of £187,500 to the company, see read more
Health and Safety law in finer detail.
Section 7 (1) makes it clear that every employer should "appoint one or more competent persons to assist him in undertaking the measures he needs to take to comply with the requirements", while 7 (5) says such a person should have "sufficient training and experience or knowledge and other qualities to enable him to properly assist in undertaking the measures referred in paragraph (1)."
The law says individual risk assessments for each company driver must be carried out.
Companies operating fleets of vehicles can no longer afford to adopt an "out of sight, out of mind" attitude towards their drivers, once they leave the car park.
The government recently-published (March 2000) Road Safety Strategy hinted at the need for employers to do more but failed to spell out clearly enough the action company directors and managers must take to stay within the law.
Basically there are three steps you should take to stay out of trouble and ensure your drivers are as safe as they can be.
1). Carry out risk assessments on all staff and their duties, covering ALL their activities during their time at work – including any time behind the wheel.
2). Take remedial action where necessary – if staff appear at risk from any activity (including driving).
3). Provide suitable inital and refresher training and information on all aspects of their work.
Obviously in the case of drivers, this should include practical on-road training as well as classroom based.
For your own peace of mind, feel free to call us and discuss your requirements and responsibilities.