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Don’t overlook duty of care for contract workers, says Meridian

Contract workers given company cars must be included in corporate road risk management, says Meridian Vehicle Solutions.

Contract workers given company cars must be included in corporate road risk management

According to the medium-term rental specialist, people employed for shorter periods are being overlooked when it comes to risk management compared to their full-time counterparts – in a similar way that grey fleet drivers are overlooked.

Phil Jerome, managing director at Meridian, said: “We have some insight into this sector because contract workers are one of the key markets for medium-term rental company cars.

“It might be easy to get someone on a six-month contract to sign the company car handbook and present their licence for initial checking but it is far more difficult to get them to conduct regular walkaround checks of the vehicle, for example.

“Most of these problems are caused simply by the fact that there is a limited amount of employer influence over someone who will only be with the company for a few months. Most sanctions will have a restricted effect.”

However, Jerome explained, it was important to ensure that duty of care standards were enforced as meticulously as for the core company car fleet.

“Legally, of course, it doesn’t matter whether someone is in your employment for a month or for a decade, your responsibilities are the same whatever difficulties you face in enforcing them. You simply cannot afford to take chances.

“Our advice to fleets in this situation tends to be very straightforward –there is a whole spectrum of risk within a fleet ranging from core fleet to grey fleet to affinity schemes and medium term rental – and that your duty of care needs to be appropriate for each kind of driver but enforced without compromise across the board.

“This can only be done with genuine managerial buy-in that means anyone who doesn’t comply with the procedures you set faces definite sanctions that are sufficient to form an effective deterrent. This is done very much for their own safety and that of other road users, of course.”

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Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for 16 years, previously as assistant editor on the former Company Car magazine before joining Fleet World in 2006. Prior to this, she worked on a range of B2B titles, including Insurance Age and Insurance Day. As Business Editor, Natalie ensures the group websites and newsletters are updated with the latest news.