Business owners and companies running vans are ignoring important elements of their duty of care responsibilities and failing to regularly conduct thorough risk assessments.
So says Gain Solutions, adding that businesses need to refocus their efforts on inspecting vehicles rather than waiting for the next service or the end of the contract.
While issues like driving and handheld mobile phones usage have grabbed attention, the firm says other operational issues often are neglected.
One such example witnessed by Gain Solutions is on vans fitted with roof racks, which it warns will not only necessitate a costly replacement of the roof panel at remarketing time but could also risk employees falling from the roof, resulting in injury or death.
The firm, which has carried out over 40,000 vehicle inspections for clients wanting to defleet their cars and vans, also reports other areas of neglect that create a threat to road safety, including worn or badly cut tyres, severely cracked windscreens, broken mirrors and lights as well as damaged seat belts.
Robin Watson, managing director at Gain Solutions, said: “Typically these vans have been worked hard for three or four years, while on lease or contract hire and in many cases drivers have been given the responsibility to regularly check the condition of their own vehicle, but in practice; after a long working day and week, this often doesn’t get completed.
“Often when we inspect these vans at defleet, the condition and subsequent recharges are way higher than they needed to be, especially if the condition and safety related items were regularly appraised during their time on the fleet. In addition, we often record the condition of items that could pose danger and subject the driver or the senior management to prosecution, in the event of an accident.”