Sheffield broker warns local firms of the dangers of employees using their own vehicles on company business

5th September 2014

Many small businesses in South Yorkshire remain unaware of their legal and health and safety responsibilities in relation to employees who drive their own cars on business trips.

And as more companies continue to get rid of their own fleets and pay employees a cash allowance to provide their own car for work, this problem is set to grow. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) estimates that up to a third of all road traffic accidents involve somebody who is at work at the time. So local firms should take appropriate steps to ensure they comply with health and safety requirements of their employees and others who may be affected by their activities when at work. This includes the time when they are driving or riding at work, whether this is in a company or hired vehicle, or in the employee's own vehicle. Worryingly if your firm has employees that drive on your businesses behalf and cause a fatality due to your failings, it could mean you facing criminal charges under the Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act introduced in 2008. To improve driver safety and mitigate risks, the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) have set rules on drivers' hours. This outlines how many hours you can drive and the breaks that you need to take if you drive a goods vehicle or a passenger-carrying vehicle. The HSE also recommends that employers consider whether drivers are: competent and capable of doing their work safely properly trained sufficiently fit and healthy to drive safely and not put themselves and others at risk provided with information that will help them reduce risk (e.g. recommended tyre pressures) provided with appropriate advice on driving posture. The HSE also advises that vehicles should be: fit for the purpose for which they are used; maintained in a safe condition and fit for the road. John Leigh a Director at IFM Insurance said, -Many local businesses are just simply unaware of their liability when their employees use their own vehicles for work. So its vitally important that business owners take some time to become familiar with what the regulations are and how they can mitigate the risk. There is also a commercial benefit to ensuring driver safety and vehicle maintenance as it means fewer sick days and missed work due to maintenance repairs.

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