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Check It Twice


Company directors risk corporate manslaughter every time an illegal driver gets behind the wheel. Ashley Hoadley of Darwin Clayton discusses the implications for cleaning contractors and product suppliers.


When companies engage the services of individuals as employees, a number of checks are now par for the course. References from previous employers are essential, but how closely do organisations check the driving licences of employees, especially when driving is part of their job?


Cleaning contractors very often have liveried company vehicles or vans, which employees will use to drive from site to site. Firms that supply consumables, or machinery and equipment, will need to make numerous deliveries to different locations around the country via the road network throughout the year. Darwin Clayton works in partnership with Cardinus Risk Management to offer bespoke road risk management solutions to clients, so we know a thing or two about driving licence checks.


Based on the thousands of checks that it carries out every week, Licence Bureau, the UK’s leading authority on driver qualifi cations, estimates there are 24,000 people driving illegally for companies in Britain today. During 2011, Licence Bureau found that on average, one in every 300 licences


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was invalid. The importance of these statistics is emphasised by the fact that up to a third of all road traffi c incidents involve somebody who is working at the time – which could account for more than 20 fatalities and 250 serious injuries every week.


Companies in the UK can help play a part in making our roads safer by checking the validity of their drivers’ documents. This sounds obvious, but Licence Bureau, which verifi es driving licences on behalf of businesses, discovered that of the non-compliant drivers they checked, 43% were driving on a provisional licence, 31% were on a revoked licence, and 9% were disqualifi ed. To further underline the potential problem, Licence Bureau submitted a Freedom of Information request to the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA). The response revealed that there were a total of 652,380 drivers in the UK with either disqualifi ed or revoked licences – a fi gure that represents nearly 2% of the driver records held by the DVLA.


Workers who drive are spending more hours and covering more miles on the road than any other drivers, so this


www.tomorrowscleaning.com


means they pose a greater risk when it comes to having or causing an accident. Employers are responsible by law for ensuring road safety and they can now be prosecuted – in the worst cases having to face corporate manslaughter charges.


Cleaning has become a highly mobile profession, with contractors often servicing multiple sites in different locations. They have a responsibility to protect their staff while they are working, but they must not forget that this duty of care doesn’t end at the doors of the facility to be cleaned. If driving is part of an operative’s work, then regular driving licence checks are absolutely crucial. By putting in place a comprehensive transport policy, and ensuring that all drivers have valid licences, companies can protect themselves, their employees and wider society.


www.darwinclayton.co.uk


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