Road Risk

On 1 August company notice UKI2012-134 headed “HEALTH & SAFETY – ROAD RISK & DRIVING” asked all employees to complete what they misleadingly called your “Driving Risk Assessment”.
Rather than trying to promote road safety, the main function of the document seems to be to push liability for any accident you might have onto yourself instead of the company if you signed it.
Your employer (not you) has a legal duty to carry out suitable and sufficient risk assessments – this is a key tool for identifying and managing risks that we are exposed to at work.  The company must ensure that such risk assessments are carried out by people competent to do so and must consult employees over the appointment of those competent persons. (Of course, you also have a responsibility to work safely and to drive safely).
Instead Fujitsu has issued this announcement without any consultation, trying to get employees to sign a document to say that they have assessed their own risks.  There’s not even any space on the document for you to do a proper risk assessment if you had been trained to do so – it’s all filled in for you.  All they want is your signature to take the blame if something goes wrong.
And there’s plenty wrong with what’s been filled in, for example:

  • Under “fatigue while driving” it suggests that you should only consider overnight accommodation if driving for more than 4-6 hours in addition to a normal working day.
  • There’s no mention of excessive working hours as a factor in fatigue.
  • The hazards listed don’t include such things as other drivers or snow
  • The advice on mobile phones has been downgraded to the legal minimum (only to be used when they are held within a permanently fixed hands-free kit) to keep us working while driving, despite strong scientific evidence that use of a hands free kit doesn’t significantly reduce the risk

Perhaps the clincher for many people will be the requirement that “Weekly check of tyres, tyre pressures, and water and oil levels must be undertaken”.  How many people do that?  If you signed the document and then had an accident after having failed to do the weekly checks, who do you think would be blamed?  If weekly checks really are a requirement, is Fujitsu going to employ people to do the checks for us or allow us to carry them out in work time?

Why doesn’t Fujitsu act to protect our Health and Safety instead of promoting a blame culture and trying to shift its legal responsibilities onto us instead?

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