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New Commercial Drivers Induction – How a positive safety culture affects driving standards

New Commercial Drivers Induction

  • How a positive safety culture affects driving standards

Do all your commercial drivers know what to do when they report accidents, near misses and vehicle damage or feel unwell when they’re driving? Do they clearly understand the company’s policies and requirements for ensuring its drivers are deemed fit and healthy to drive?

The prevailing safety culture within your haulage business will inevitably have a huge impact on your driving operation. Senior management should be very involved in promoting and developing a positive safety culture for the firm.

Having a very visible safety culture supported by senior managers and robust systems in place is bound to have a positive impact on driver conduct and reduce your risk profile.  If you continually reinforce best practice when it comes to road safety, you are more likely to positively engage drivers and affect their driving behaviour and performance.

Under their Duty of Care obligations, commercial haulage firms must issue clear guidance to all new goods vehicle drivers. This is usually part of a thorough driver induction programme, backed up by a Drivers Handbook that’s carried in the vehicle for easy reference.

There’s also benefit in having a specific Occupational Road Risk Policy, or ORRP, embedded in the company’s health and safety policy. The ORRP identifies any managers responsible for fleet risk/safety issues and individual drivers responsible for and expected to comply with the minimum expected standards of driver conduct specified by the company. The ORRP policy statement should be dated and signed by the MD, issued to all drivers against a self-declaration regarding their driving history and signed as part of their formal offer of employment.

With around 35% of all accidents relating to motor vehicles involving new drivers in their first year in the job, putting a driving induction programme in place is essential. Taking new drivers through a comprehensive induction process allows you to go through your company’s health and safety policy in detail with every new driver and then check that they fully understand all the company’s processes and procedures. Your aim is to explain how your haulage firm operates and what‘s expected from them in return, to help reduce road traffic accident risks, keeping them and others safe from harm.

A Driver Induction programme would typically go through the company health and safety policy in detail to ensure that the commercial driver fully understands the responsibilities; the required vehicle checks and any restrictions and legal requirements, e.g. use of mobile phones, driving and fatigue, what to do when there is an accident, emergency or when the vehicle breaks down.

As well as new drivers, remember to keep checking that all your drivers are up-to-date with the latest regulations and factors that affect road safety.

Check what all your drivers know

  • They should not drive while taking medicine that might impair their judgement and must check with their GP if they are in any doubt
  • They must satisfy eyesight and other health requirements of the Highway Code6 and DVLA
  • They must take a break if they start to feel sleepy at the wheel
  • How to carry out routine safety checks on lights, tyres and wheel fixings
  • How to correctly adjust safety equipment, e.g. seat belts and head restraints
  • How to use anti-lock braking systems (ABS) properly
  • What to do to stay safe if their vehicle breaks down, e.g. use safety warning triangles and high-visibility jackets
  • They must not drive under the influence of drink or drugs
  • They must not use a hand-held mobile phone while driving and that hands-free phones can seriously affect concentration?

If you’re employing drivers for whom English is not their first language, you may also need to provide information using translation services.

Andrew Bourne & Co spends time getting to know how your commercial haulage operation works. Our aim is to support you to improve the quality of your induction for all your drivers and reduced your risks. We’ll work with you, to create a bespoke insurance solution that’s responsive to your business and supports you to manage your risks more effectively. If you’d like to speak to us, call David Crowther or one of the team at Andrew Bourne and Co. on 0116 272 0770.