As we’ve discussed previously in Workplace Safety, effectively managing your fleet is vital for almost every organisation, but with so many organisations now offering employees the option of using their own car for business purposes, managing your fleet to ensure you meet your legal duties has become an increasingly complex business. Thankfully, we’ve put together this helpful guide covering the basics of grey fleet management, with advice to protect your organisation and help you meet the legal requirements.
What is grey fleet?
‘Grey fleet’ is simply the term used to describe any vehicles that do not belong to the company, but which are used for business travel. This might include a vehicle purchased via an employee ownership scheme, a privately rented vehicle or a vehicle privately owned by an employee. When they are driven on company business, often in return for a cash allowance or fuel expense, these vehicles then become considered part of the ‘grey fleet’ – and as such fall under the responsibility of the employer.
Because grey fleet vehicles do not belong to the company, fleet managers face a complicated set of issues when it comes to managing the safety of their fleet. For one thing, employees using their own car may be outside of the established insurance and servicing policies, meaning their vehicles are not covered for company travel. Another issue is attempting to keep track of the status of grey fleet vehicles to ensure they meet legal road requirements, including:
- Driving license validity
- Insurance details including business use
- MOT certification
- Road Tax validity
In addition to this, you will also need to consider the suitability of the vehicle for work purposes. This could include the age and condition, or whether the vehicle is equipped with ABS, ESP, air conditioning, and whether or not it is suitable for the journey requirements of the company.
The Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 requires employers to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health and safety of all employees while at work. Employers and employees also have a responsibility to ensure that others are not put at risk during any work-related driving activities. In practice, this means you have the same legal duty of care for grey fleet drivers as you would for those in a work supplied vehicle. What’s more, corporate manslaughter laws mean that the onus of having to prove your organisation has fulfilled its legal obligations following an incident can be a considerable burden.
Ensuring your organisation holds details for all those who drive for work is essential, whether company vehicle drivers or members of your grey fleet. This is where professional grey fleet management can prove invaluable. RoSPA’s grey fleet management offers an online solution, providing a visible and documented record that can be called upon if required, providing you with a quick and simple self-certification process – giving you peace of mind that your duty of care has been fulfilled.
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