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‘Tick box’ risk management leaving fleets exposed

Fleets who focus on compliance management rather than risk management are failing to effectively manage vehicles, drivers and journeys, risking potential criminal prosecutions and/or civil actions in the event of a crash.

Fleet Service Great Britain’s Achieve Driver Management User Group

That was the message from health and safety lawyer Michael Appleby of London-based law firm Fisher Scoggins Waters, at the inaugural meeting of Fleet Service Great Britain’s Achieve Driver Management User Group.

Appleby warned that many organisations went through the compliance ‘tick box procedure’ of, for example, checking the validity of employees’ driving licences and perhaps encouraging defect checks to be undertaken, but failed to translate the information gathered into practical management.

“There is a correlation between ‘bent metal’ crashes and proper management,” he said. “Companies may have really good health and safety management across their core business, but when it comes to vehicles and drivers it can be much weaker.

“Too many companies view road risk as managing compliance and not managing the risk itself. Employers should have the basic elements of managing safety in place, but frequently there is very little actual day-to-day management. When ‘things go wrong’ businesses could be massively exposed because they do not have the answers to questions posed by investigators.”

Highlighting that “a well-managed company manages safety well”, Appleby told the User Group that while both criminal prosecution and/or civil action could result from a work-related car or commercial vehicle crash, the rise of social media meant the ‘court of public opinion’ was also becoming increasingly influential.

He suggested that the “wrong type of publicity” could cause “tremendous damage” to a business, its reputation, profitability and share price.

Launched last September, Fleet Service GB’s Achieve solution provides a fully integrated work-related road safety programme that unites all aspects of the vehicle and driver management process to provide managers with a single silo of live and dynamic data; this can be used to help drive vehicle, driver and journey management. The solution comprises a range of components: Achieve Driver Management, Achieve Crash Management, Achieve Maintenance Management, Achieve Fleet Manager, Achieve Management Services, as well as Achieve Fleet Service Partnership, with fleet decision-makers able to ‘pick ‘n’ mix’ the tools to suit their business needs.

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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.