Employers are being warned that they must start tracking the working hours of fleet drivers after the first successful UK health and safety prosecution of its type.
Distribution firm Produce Connection was fined £30,000 after one of its employees died when his vehicle drifted into the path of an oncoming lorry. He had worked 76 hours in the previous four days and chronic fatigue is believed to be a major factor.
The prosecution is significant because it is the first time that a company has been fined in a case of this type where the accident occurred outside working hours. Its employee Mark Fiebig was driving home from work at the time.
Andy Leech, sales and marketing director at fleet software provider cfc solutions, said the case was a strong indicator that the Health and Safety Executive was taking the subject of car and LCV fleet driver hours more seriously.
“Traditionally, driver hours have been a subject that fleets believe is mainly the preserve of companies that run mainly HGVs, but this is rapidly changing. We are reaching a point where it is arguable that every fleet manager should monitor driver hours while this is still a suggested practice rather than a legal requirement.
“This kind of prosecution signals that employers have a wide ranging responsibility to stop fatigued drivers getting behind the wheel of vehicles, especially company ones.”