Fleet management – safety tips

From reliable vehicles and equipment to effective communication, there are many factors that contribute to having a successful fleet. The most important factor of all, for both drivers and management, is safety.

The DVLA see most precautions to be just as much the employer’s responsibility as the individual behind the wheel, so it is really important to be aware of what is expected. We thought it would be useful to go through some of the steps taken by operators across the country to keep their fleet safe, happy and efficient.

Requirements and legislation are always changing so it can be hard to keep up to date, sign up to the newsletters of leading industry publications to get the latest updates or check the news sections of governing bodies such as the RHA or FTA on a regular basis so there is nothing you miss. Some contracts may require HGVs to have specific safety equipment such as nearside alarms or cameras to cover blind spots and reversing. Ensuring all vehicle requirements are met in advance will avoid unnecessary issues for drivers and save time and money in the long run.

Roadworks, weather forecasts and incidents can be unpredictable and change significantly over night , so try to check routes before the driver sets off. This way, extra time can be allowed for severe weather conditions or roadworks so the driver doesn’t have to rush and put his safety or the safety of others at risk. As well as keeping up to date with MOTs and servicing, daily walkarounds should be part of any drivers routine, problems can often be avoided before they even occur making the fleet last longer and your drivers feel more secure.

Keeping in contact with your drivers is essential to a lot of operators, which is why it’s a great idea to provide them with a hands free kit. There will be less temptation for them to break the law, and at the same time you have an easy way to get updates to your drivers. Telematics can also be a helpful way to keep up to date with where your drivers are and how efficient their driving is. It will allow you to praise the drivers who are following procedure and driving efficiently, and make suggestions to those who are making avoidable errors.

Operators can take as many health and safety precautions as they can, but it is just as important to ensure a great health and safety culture is instilled within your team. Regular training sessions will make it clear to drivers what is expected of them, and give them a chance to be clear of accident procedures or what to do if they are feeling tired. If drivers are confident in procedures, the chance of any problems on the road is drastically reduced.

When taking a new vehicle, it is really important to have training on the product so the driver is familiar with all features, especially if it is a new brand or model. Not only is this beneficial for safety and ease of experience for the driver but it can also end up saving you money as the driver will be trained to operate the vehicle efficiently.