Tuesday, 21 April 2009

In the driving seat for safety checks

Shropshire companies are responsible for the safety of all staff who drive on business – whether they’re using a company vehicle or not.

Graham Davies, our Senior Partner, said employers must take steps to ensure their staff were not at risk.

“Under the Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act, companies are now legally responsible for the health and safety of staff when they are behind the wheel on business, regardless of who owns the car. Any firm that fails to show a duty of care towards its employees can face prosecution if there’s an accident, and so can company directors and managers.”

He warned that setting out safety rules in the staff handbook was not enough – companies will have to demonstrate they are enforcing the policies and be able to produce appropriate evidence.

“Make sure your staff have the right insurance to use their own cars for business – this needs a simple amendment to their existing private insurance.You’ll also need to make sure that any car used for business is properly maintained – so take copies of MOTs and service histories, and keep a file for every vehicle as though it was a company car.

“And don’t forget to check the competence of the driver – just because you’ve seen their licence doesn’t mean they are safe. Ask all staff using a car in your business to agree to regular DVLA licence checks. These simple steps will go a long way to ensuring your company, and your staff, stay on the right side of the law.”