Statistics show that company car drivers have 30 to 40 percent more collisions than other drivers. The Road Safety Authority states that the number of work-related deaths from road collisions is double that of any other cause.
Employees are at risk on a daily basis and it is vital to try to improve safety wherever possible. But, is this down to the individual or their boss?
Many employers in Ireland are unaware of their responsibilities for employees who drive in the course of their work. It is still the belief of many companies and organisations that the Law makes the individual driver responsible for ensuring that they are fully fit to drive. The Health and Safety Authority (HSA) makes it clear, however, that it is a joint responsibility and an area where employers have a clear duty of care. This includes ensuring that the driver’s eyesight is good enough.
While commuting to and from a place of work, the individual is accountable for their own actions. When, however, a journey takes place for work purposes, the responsibility shifts. It often does not occur to employers that this area comes under their health and safety remit. The Health, Safety and Welfare at Work Act allows company directors to be prosecuted following a collision if it is proven that they have not managed safety properly. It is also calculated that work-related collisions cost companies up to €36 for every €1 claimed on insurance.
The steps to be taken are relatively simple but could have a big impact on both the employee and employer, should a collision occur. The HSA recommends that employers assess current health and safety procedures covering driving for work and draw up a programme of management.
Perhaps surprisingly, it is not the drivers of lorries or buses that are causing the most concern but company car drivers and the ‘grey fleet’, that is, those who drive their own vehicle for company purposes. The employees that are often overlooked are those whose main role is office or site-based, but whose job includes the need to travel for meetings or training, for example.
Eyesight can deteriorate rapidly without the individual noticing, so regular eye examinations are essential, especially for those who drive during the course of their work. A thorough eye examination includes the checking of peripheral vision, which is of utmost importance for drivers.
Ensuring the eyesight of employees is good enough for driving is a vital part of any health and safety policy. Employees should speak to their employer to find out if the company will provide the necessary eye examinations and follow-up eyecare, including funding glasses, if required.
Further information can be found through the following links:
Health and Safety Authority: http://www.hsa.ie/eng/Vehicles_at_Work/Driving_for_Work/
Specsavers Corporate Eyecare: