For light goods vehicles, there’s no specific legislation that says a business must carry out pre-journey checks. So, should you?
The simple answer is yes. Any business with a mobile workforce needs to have an effective process to make sure vehicles are checked before being used.
Here’s why your staff should be performing daily vehicle checks:
- It IS legally required
- It can save lives
- It’s simple and effective
- It helps improve performance
It IS legally required
Although there’s no specific legislation for vehicles under 3500kg, ensuring the safety of work vehicles is covered by an employer’s basic duty of care responsibilities. Whether it’s a fleet or hired or an employee’s vehicle - if it’s used for work purposes, you need to ensure it's safe.
A simple and ‘reasonably practicable’ way to achieve this is with the carrying out of a basic check before any vehicle hits the road. Typically, this will be carried out by the driver and will cover a set of quick external and internal checks.
A process should be in place to ensure that no vehicle is used until any safety issues raised have been resolved. Pre-journey checks should be part of a wider maintenance programme.
It can save lives
Research by Safety charity Brake has estimated that around 2,000 accidents on UK roads each year are a result of vehicle defects. Some of these incidents will inevitably result in fatalities and serious injury.
Whether it’s a balding tyre left unnoticed or mirrors not properly adjusted after a change of driver, a lack of pre-journey checks will significantly increase safety risks.
Research carried out for the Driving Change report found that 77% of UK highway managers view vehicle checks as the single most important factor in accident prevention. You can find the full results here.
It’s simple and effective
One of the issues with vehicle checks in the past has been making sure they are done. When employees are required to fill out a paper form, it creates a slow administrative process that’s hard to manage and maintain.
Digital technology now provides much more efficient ways to make sure proper checks are carried out. Cloud-based management systems and smartphone apps allow checks to be integrated into a mobile worker’s schedule.
With real-time data, managers can be instantly alerted if any issues are found. Workers can also be required to take photographs as part of a vehicle check - particularly useful for images of dashboard warning lights and mileage records.
It helps improve performance
Without pre-journey checks, the main way you are liable to identify vehicle problems is when they break down. Breakdowns and unscheduled repair work will have a damaging impact on mobile service performance.
With effective vehicle checks in place, a preventative approach to maintenance helps to reduce the risks. Issues can be identified early and tackled before they lead to vehicles breaking down or extensive repairs.
Without a structured check process, simple things such as dashboard warning lights not being reported can have costly consequences. This is a particular problem when vehicles are used by multiple employees with nobody thinking it’s their problem.