Obligations Owed by Employers to Grey Fleet Drivers
In a nutshell a company’s corporate responsibility to the grey fleet driver is precisely the same as its obligations to a ‘company’ car driver using a fleet vehicle belonging to their employer. There is a wealth of information on the web supporting this assertion and the Health and Safety Executive have gone so far as to produce specific guidance for employers to make their obligations as clear as possible.
For a copy of the HSE’s publication “Driving at Work” click here
“Driving at Work” makes it clear that employers need to ensure that not only are grey fleet drivers properly licensed to drive their vehicles, but also that the vehicle in question is roadworthy, safe to use and reasonably fit for the purpose.
By way of general summary, the obligations owed to the grey fleet driver include:-
• An obligation to take such steps as are reasonable in the circumstances to ensure the safety of all their drivers and other road users having regard to the nature of the risk and likelihood of harm.
• Road traffic legislation requires the driver to be correctly licensed as well setting minimum standards for the roadworthiness of a vehicle, including its maintenance, taxation and appropriate insurance. All this requires is for a responsible employer to put a policy and process in place to check that even where employees are driving their own vehicles, they are legitimate, legal and safe on the road.
• Both employer and employee may be subject to express or implicit obligations in a contract of employment or subject to company policies in the conduct of their employment. This would include using equipment such as a ‘vehicle’ and other items being used in the course of their employment.
• The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 imposes obligations on the employer and employee to take all reasonable and proportionate precautions to mitigate risks and this includes ‘whilst driving at work’ irrespective of ownership. As noted earlier this includes ensuring the driver is properly qualified to drive their vehicle and that the vehicle is safe and roadworthy.
• Seriously negligent employers may be criminally liable for corporate manslaughter where senior management are considered culpable in the death of an employee. This could include negligently allowing a person to drive a vehicle known or unknown to be dangerous or unfit for work.
DAVIS offers an optional Grey Fleet module to help employers directly addresses the essential issues required to comply with the discharge of their Duty of Care as well as the wider obligations owed to their drivers and other road users by providing a secure online web-based interface service to record and manage information about the driver and the vehicle(s) to be used on company business.