COVID-19 has transformed how businesses operate. Most notably in terms of a preference to work from home (which is cheaper for employers and more convenient for their teams). But little mention is made of how the pandemic has fuelled the growth of Grey Fleets (employees using their private vehicles for business travel). This wouldn’t be an issue if business owners knew how many vehicles they owned. But many don’t. And from a fleet vehicle compliance perspective, this can be a risk.
Let’s delve deeper and dismantle some of the challenges posed by grey fleets in an economic landscape changed (perhaps forever) by COVID-19.
1. Upholding a duty of care
Are the right people managing your grey fleets? Ideally, responsibility should be spread across departments including human resources, accounts, and fleet management. By pooling their expertise, these professionals should be able to develop a comprehensive fleet vehicle compliance strategy.
Before this can happen, those involved must understand their responsibilities. What systems and processes are needed? How should grey fleet drivers act and what steps should be taken to ensure vehicles are maintained, insured, and roadworthy? Ultimately, you’ll need to prove all necessary measures were taken to prevent an accident.
2. Understanding grey fleet legislation
Those presiding over your fleet compliance strategy must familiarise themselves with key legislation (which can seem dense, complex, and hard to interpret at first). Numerous measures exist, but we’ve included the top three below.
Corporate Manslaughter Act 2007
If a driver working for your business died during a work-related journey, the consequences could be severe. Your company could be prosecuted and severe financial penalties levied.
The Management of Health And Safety at Work Regulations 1999
As an employer, you’re legally responsible for the health and safety of your workers — even when they’re off-site and using a grey fleet vehicle. This is part of your duty of care. You must therefore carry out a risk assessment to ensure all reasonable precautions have been taken to protect your workers.
HSE Driving at Work Guidance
As part of your fleet vehicle compliance strategy, make sure your policy includes statements about your vehicles, drivers, and their journeys.
Implement a Grey Fleet Training Programme
This needn’t be a standalone programme. It can instead be integrated into your onboarding process or other internal courses you run. The training should be available to new and existing team members who need to drive a grey fleet vehicle as part of their job role.
To make your fleet vehicle compliance strategy as successful as possible, why not publish guidelines on your notice boards, intranet, and handbooks? You should also create a Driving For Work policy and make it available for download via a shared drive.
It’s important to check your Driving For Work policy is up to date too (even if it’s embedded in your company’s health and safety document). Not sure how to create or update yours? See Health and Safety Executive’s (HSE) guidance on driving for work.
COVID-19 has led more people to use their own vehicles for business travel. This means more companies are facing risks associated with grey fleets and need to ensure the right measures and policies are in place to keep their employees safe.
Although some restrictions have been lifted, the pandemic isn’t yet over and it’s essential for business owners to remain vigilant and keep their fleet vehicle compliance strategies up to date.
How can we help?
At Driver Check, we’re here to make sure all employees are safe throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and before. Our expertise has helped help more than 1200 clients keep their vehicles and drivers compliant.
We make sure that, if employees are using their own vehicles, they’re abiding by legal requirements (such as business insurance, MOT and Road Tax) to keep them safe on the road and your business compliant.
So, if you manage a grey fleet and need help with vehicle compliance, contact our friendly Driver Check team for a discussion today.