Why employers need to take care for their workers out on the road
You could have to live with the guilt of being responsible for serious injury or even death: RSA
This week I'm going to focus again on the topic of employers' obligations to staff, who drive as part of their job.
Employers, managers and supervisors must, by law, manage the risks that employees face and create when they drive for work. Driving for work includes anyone who drives as part of their employment in either a company vehicle or their own, with mileage reimbursement.
This does not include those driving between their residence and place of work. Examples of such employees include drivers of heavy and light goods vehicles, bus, coach, taxis, utility company and sales and marketing staff.
The Health and Safety Authority, the gardai and the RSA have put considerable energy into raising awareness of employers' responsibilities, under law, to ensure the safety of their drivers. The latest effort involves the launch of a new TV-led awareness campaign.
It tells the stories of five different employers whose staff have recently been involved in a driving-for-work collision. The employers are seen expressing their regret, sorrow and guilt for not having managed employee risk correctly. The message is simple, 'If you are driving for work, you're on the job'.
The advert has been adapted from a successful campaign run by the Canadian Road Safety Authority, and they have kindly granted permission to make an Irish version.
Of course, drivers themselves are responsible for how they drive, but the employer has a responsibility to the member of staff to make driving for work as safe as possible.
Employers have a duty of care to make sure all work-related journeys are safe, workers are able to drive safely, and all vehicles are fit for use. They must also have proper safety systems and staff should be provided with information, instruction, and proper training to ensure they are aware of the risks when driving for work.
If an employee is driving for work then it is the responsibility of their employer to ensure they have a driving-for-work policy in place to minimise risk. The new campaign directs employers and employees looking for information on creating such a policy and mitigating driving for work risk to www.drivingforwork.ie.
The site also includes a free online course on 'Managing Driving for Work'. The course is designed to educate employers about safe driving-for-work practices and the benefits of implementing driving for work risk management practices.
It is estimated that 1-in-3 road collisions every year involve people who were driving for work at the time. This means around 63 lives could have been lost in work-related collisions in 2016.
People who drive for work are more likely than other drivers to be involved in a collision. So employers need to understand that they have a legal and moral responsibility towards such staff. It's the employer's responsibility to minimise all safety risks.
The benefits of having a driving-for-work programme greatly outweigh the costs. They include employee loyalty, reduced likelihood of injury or death and subsequent sickness/dependency costs.
For every €1 claimed on insurance arising from work related incidents companies may have to pay a further €8 to €36 for uninsured losses.
So if you don't have a driving-for-work policy you need to one as soon as possible.
Despite the fact there is an obligation to do so, the consequences of not having one are too grave for it not to be taken seriously. If someone is involved in a serious crash, it could have profound effects on your reputation and business. Worst of all you could have to live with the guilt of being responsible for someone's serious injury or even death.