What is Fleet Duty of Care?
Originally published on September 21, 2020
All fleet managers have to follow duty of care requirements to safeguard their staff, vehicles and the overall business. In this article, we’re going to explore what duty of care means for fleet managers and fleet driving so you understand the measures you need to take.
Duty of Care Meaning
In the UK, by law, all companies have a duty of care for their employees. Specific duty of care requirements can vary between industries, however the duty of care meaning remains the same: companies must undertake appropriate measures to ensure employees, and members of the public, do not suffer unreasonable or foreseeable work-related harm or loss.
Duty of Care Requirements for Fleet Managers
Proper fleet safety is a hugely important element of effective fleet management and, as a fleet manager, you are responsible for adhering to the duty of care requirements for your fleet. Here are some examples:
Looking after your vehicles is one of the most important ways to protect your drivers and the public. It’s important to note that all of your fleet vehicles are considered places of work, even on the road.
You need to choose new or replacement vehicles based on their suitability for the job at hand. Prioritise safety features and ensure your vehicles can manage safely in different weather conditions.
In addition, you need to keep up with inspections and maintenance. You are legally required to ensure vehicles are fit for purpose and appropriately maintained. Preventative maintenance is one of the most effective ways to safeguard your drivers; you’ll reduce the likelihood of breakdowns, which is important for safety and fleet efficiency.
When it comes to your duty of care requirements, choosing the right drivers is just as important as protecting your drivers. During the hiring process, you should make sure that there are proper vetting systems in place, including licence checks. This way, you’ll have documentation proving the eligibility of your new hires, and you can be confident you’ve selected a reliable candidate who’s capable of fleet driving responsibly.
As fleet manager, you also need to provide a comprehensive safety induction, written guide and training session for your new hires. Hand out detailed documents explaining all safety procedures, and ask drivers to acknowledge and sign them. Don’t forget to review these documents regularly and retrain existing drivers when necessary.
Another important area of duty of care is to ensure a clear channel of communication is established for drivers to report accidents or safety concerns to you. Highlighting the importance of safety to your drivers also demonstrates that you care about their wellbeing; this can improve morale which can contribute to reduced driver turnover.
Thoughtful journey planning is important for safe fleet driving. Your duty of care requirements extends to all drivers and vehicles when they’re on the road. Take the time to plan journeys to maximise efficiency while managing driver fatigue, speed and fuel consumption.
Keep communication channels clear and open so that drivers can relay any concerns about their journeys and know that you value their thoughts. You can also use technology to monitor journeys, and use the data to ensure duty of care requirements are being met.
For example, fuel cards offer relevant management features to aid in duty of care procedures. You can access downloadable reports explaining your fleets’ driving activity over a given time period. With this data, you’re better positioned to make decisions on how to improve fleet driving journeys to better protect your drivers.
Understanding the duty of care meaning and how it relates to your fleet is crucial for every fleet manager. Not only is this a legal obligation, but it also helps to protect your drivers’ health and happiness. For more fleet management advice, please explore our blog.