Coronavirus measures should be added to standard fleet risk management policies following the release of new Government advice, believes FleetCheck
The fleet software specialist said that the “Working Safely During COVID-19 in or from a Vehicle”, issued this week, appeared to form a relatively sensible framework to manage the possibility of infection around the use of company vehicles.
Peter Golding, managing director at FleetCheck, explained: “The fact is that coronavirus is going to be very much part of everyday fleet management for the foreseeable future and that businesses need to tackle the issue as proactively as possible.
“In order to minimise the likelihood of employees being exposed to the virus, many or even most fleets have already adopted a range of measures on an ad hoc basis and the new official guidance provides a means to build on this improvisational approach.
“There is undoubtedly an argument for integrating the Government’s strategies and more into your overall, written risk management policy. Until there is a vaccine or a cure for coronavirus, it is going to have be managed and you should have a written infrastructure.”
Peter added that areas that may need to be covered in coronavirus risk management included everything from protocols for delivery drivers and cleaning of shared vehicles to implications for grey fleet operations and drivers reporting symptoms of the illness.
He said: “Over time, and especially following the Government guidance, we expect to see a consensus develop across the industry about how all of these issues are handled but that dialogue is still very much underway. Certainly, we are having conversations every day with our fleet customers about new aspects of their management of the risks involved.
“We are also looking at how to adapt our products for this situation and are currently working on a ‘Ready for the Road’ app that includes provision for fleet managers to send push messages to employees with a ‘read and understood’ confirmation for new policies.”
Peter said that initial thinking indicated that there was probably not a strong legal aspect to the risk management of the virus for employers because it would always be difficult to know and prove where and when someone became infected.
“However, there is certainly an ethical and operational question and, as people start to return to work, something that may be happening very soon in sectors like manufacturing and construction, it will be a matter of ensuring that employees feel they can use company vehicles with a relatively high degree of confidence.”