Is the vehicle a place of work?


25 June 2003

BSI claims that the new mobile workforce is falling short of company health and safety cover

John Lennox, the transport expert for BSI, announced in his speech on Corporate Killing at the Society of Operational Engineers annual conference last week that more must be done in terms of ensuring occupational health and safety (H&S) whilst driving vehicles.

John cited the unnerving statistic that 33 per cent of all road traffic accidents, that is to say crashes, involve people driving for work.

"Presently, the 'mobile workforce': sales staff, company reps, van drivers etc, by the nature of the job has low visibility and as a result is not seen as a high priority in terms of H&S by businesses and other organisations." says John Lennox.

It is vital that ownership of a safety system comes from the very top of an organisation. Eventually, the buck stops there. Company policy must be unequivocal in its support of safe working practices for the mobile work force and effectively communicated to staff. However, everyone has a role to play and reviewing your system should include input from all levels of staff. They should be encouraged to feed back any issues or near misses where they think that a system improvement could have reduced the risk.

The way forward, according to John Lennox, is to ensure that there is a fully effective, flexible, up-to-date monitoring and reporting system to cover all staff, which is robust and regularly audited.

Says Lennox: "Not only will such a system protect companies from costly law suits and insurance claims but also means that they comply with contemporary legislation and, most importantly, will keep employees safe."

The solution is a systematic approach to road safety. This should include aspects such as a staff guide for drivers, which includes guidance on issues such as mobile phones, how many hours worked/driving, the amount of rest breaks, testing for drugs or alcohol, defect reporting, insurance/licence checks and vehicle safety that being, is it Fit For Purpose?

Commercial organisations might well complain that this all costs a great deal of money and time. However, according to BSI this approach means that safety improves the bottom line

John Lennox adds: "Benchmarking repair costs, hire car costs and downtime for each part of the organisation can help management to focus on individuals or groups who are more prone to collisions. They can introduce re-training and education schemes to reduce the accident rates, keeping people safe while driving down costs at the same time.

"There are distinct advantages to taking this pragmatic, systematic approach. For example it is a significant aim of corporate social responsibility (CSR), achieving overall safety in operation, demonstrating to an organisation's shareholders and stakeholders that it cares about its employees and of course, safer staff means safer roads for all.

Ultimately BSI aims to set new national and European Standards for H&S in transport.

For further information on H&S in the transport sector contact John Lennox at BSI on tel 020 8996 7342.


Media Enquiries:

Wilma Tulloch on +44 (0)20 8996 6330 OR
Marc Edney on +44 (0)20 8996 6330


BSI Group believes in the universal adoption of best management practices, reduction of risk throughout the trading process and the harmonisation and acceptance of international standards by consent as a means of achieving economic prosperity and releasing the potential in all businesses to deliver excellence.

Founded in 1901 in the UK the BSI Group is now a global company made up of five complementary business units:

  • British Standards, the UK's national standards body, is based in London, UK. It creates and updates national and international standards, reflecting the needs of stakeholders, including UK businesses and consumers. 
  • Business Information, a provider of information on standards and associated material. 
  • Management Systems, a provider of certification to management systems is based at BSI's headquarters in the UK. Following the 2002 purchase of the North American systems assessment business of KPMG, BSI Inc, based in Reston, Virginia, is the largest company providing management systems certification in North America. Management Systems also has regional headquarters in Hong Kong to service the network of offices in the Asian-Pacific region. 
  • Product Services, based in Hemel Hempstead, UK, provides product-testing and awards Kitemark conformity certification and CE marking. The Kitemark is a BSI registered trademark. 
  • Inspectorate, the leading independent inspection and analysis company, joined the BSI Group in 1998. Inspectorate has its main offices in Witham, UK; Houston, Texas and Singapore. 
    BSI Group is an international provider of services to businesses and other organisations. All our business units are working to the same vision of supporting business improvement and trade world-wide. Through provision of standards, technical information, systems assessment, product testing and commodity inspection services, BSI supplies vital third-party services that enable its customers to trade effectively and to improve their operations and products.

In 2002 the Group's turnover was £232.8 million (US$370 million).

Sir David John KCMG, group chairman BSI Group, was appointed in July 2002.

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