Irresponsible Employers Could Lead To Employee Car Accidents

Saturday, 20. August 2011

Hi, Graham Hill here, thank you so much for visiting my blog, I hope you learn a lot and as a result end up driving a great car. In order to do so you can get all the information you need by buying my book, An Insider Guide To Car Finance or use me to finance your next car. Happy driving.

I have written about this before but having read something shocking I thought it was about time to address it again. Here is what I read: ‘More police die driving to and from work than die fighting crime. And more firefighters die driving to and from work than die fighting fire.’ That is frightening isn’t it? Staff cutbacks and pressures on staff to put in greater effort, that often means more stress and longer hours, means that more employees are driving whilst incredibly tired either first thing in the morning or last thing at night.

Of course bosses will say that their responsibility starts when employees walk through the door of their workplace and ends when they walk back through it on their way home but there is an argument that says that employers have a duty of care if an employee has a car accident that could be related to the increased demands of his job.

Statistics in the UK are poor as the police don’t always obtain the purpose of the trip when a driver is involved in an accident, however, in Europe the road accident death rate for those commuting at the time is a staggering 45% with 10% to 15% of all occupational incidents occurring during the commute to or from work.

UK law is weak in this area and isn’t covered by the ‘driving at work’ HSE legislation unless the employee is travelling to an ‘unfamiliar location.’ I assume this to mean if an employee drives direct from his home to a customer.

However, in a case brought against a Cambridgeshire produce company, following the out of hours death of an employee whilst commuting, it was found that the company had not ensured that staff were not working beyond the point of exhaustion, rendering them unfit to drive.

The insurance position is also somewhat vague compared to other European countries where different systems of worker compensation exist. In the UK most commuting will be covered by the employee’s personal car insurance as occupational insurance in the UK rarely covers this.

As a result of the sketchy employment and insurance positions there have been calls to give this area a higher priority when considering , especially in light of the Cambridgeshire case and the dangers involved in commuting.

Safety shouldn’t be simply complying with the legal requirements it should include the moral duty of care towards employees.

There are other practical implications if an employee is off work following an accident or is no longer able to work, this can be a huge expense to an employer so it’s an area that should be considered when pushing employees to the limit not to mention the additional pressure on other staff members if a colleague is off work following a car accident. By Graham Hill

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