Winter motoring can be tough and frustrating, whether you face ice and snow, flooded roads, freezing fog, storms or low sun. 22% of accidents in the UK are caused by weather...

The clock is now counting down to the introduction of the Direct Vision Standard in London – a scheme that requires all lorries with a gross vehicle weight of over 12 tonnes to have a safety permit before they can enter the capital.

In our last edition of Consultant in the Cab, we reported on the new HGV Supercabs, which have been commissioned to help detect driving offences. Since producing that report, Warwickshire Police have deemed the Supercabs “invaluable”, following the detection of 146 offences, involving 31 drivers, caught out over just a five-day period. Interestingly, one third of these drivers were commercial drivers.

With the pressures of Christmas deliveries, challenging weather conditions and driver shortages, it can be tempting to overlook the requirement to produce tachograph data every 28 days. And, as a recent survey shows, many operators are not sticking to their legal obligations anyway, increasing their risk on the road and the danger to other road users.

Smart motorways have come under a lot of fire this autumn, with the safety of all-lanes-running (ALR) being called into question following various fatalities. What you may not realise, however, is that your driver can pick up a £100 fine and three points on their licence, if they ignore the red X display that signals that a lane has been closed.

Despite various campaigns by Network Rail and the Government, five vehicles a day are still striking bridges under which they are too tall to pass. December is one of the months in which the frequency of this problem is highest, with around 150 vehicles bridge strikes across its 31 days. Now, following some landmark cases, Network Rail is intending to claim back the full cost of a bridge strike, which should make any transport manager up their game and take control of this issue.

Taking a rest, scheduling time off of the highway to take and make calls, and eating well are all vital factors when it comes to keeping truckers – and other road users - safe and healthy, But, which Sat Nav coordinates should they have keyed in, if they wish to enjoy Britain’s best trucker tucker? Gauntlet is ready to find out.

A best practice guide for those operating goods vehicles, whether lorries or vans, has been released by the Department of Transport, as it seeks to combat the threat of vehicles used as weapons (VAWs) – a crime that has created new risk management scenarios that simply have to be considered.

Hands-free mobile phone operations could become illegal, if the Commons Transport Select Committee’s report of August 13, 2019 comes into force. So, what can commercial drivers do to prepare for that eventuality and how is Gauntlet helping you do that?

The M1 became the route that acted as a safety guinea pig during one week in May 2019, as the three ‘HGV Supercabs’ owned by Highways England, set out on a mission to catch out those HGV drivers flouting the law. Thanks to the success of this M1 Safety Week, the same exercise is set to run on other motorways. What do you need to be aware of?

Firms and contractors undertaking any sort of welding activity are being alerted to a tightening of health and safety law with regard to welding fumes, which they may not have noted, but which requires them to undertake an immediate review of risk assessments and introduce suitable control measures.

Being out of sight and out of mind is something London’s mayor, Sadiq Khan, is not willing to tolerate when it comes to pedestrians and cyclists in HGV blindspots. Meanwhile, councils across the country are calling for police to clamp down on lorries that ignore weight, height and width restrictions, to get to their destination faster. What do you need to do?

You may think you run a tight health and safety ship, but it could be a little bit like parents and teenagers, with plenty going on that you do not know about. Here are some common issues that you may need to clamp down on.

If you employ drivers, you must remind them of their legal obligations to have their eyesight regularly checked, as specified by both the Highway Code and DVLA. But is that enough?

Not addressing a known health and safety issue is just as bad, if not worse, than having a lack of awareness of the issue, as car manufacturer, Renault, recently discovered when it picked up a £200,000 fine for what could be deemed ‘turning a blind eye’.

Is the ‘workplace’ that you need to consider for your health and safety compliance that which you see every day, or is it a wider entity, the borders of which shift according to where your drivers go during their working hours? The latter is the right answer, if your staff work away from the premises as well as at them, as one business recently discovered.

You may have recently read about a tragedy in Coventry, in which two people died when a bus crashed into a supermarket. A £2.3m fine was handed to a transport operator who failed to spot signs relating to their aged driver’s mental health. There but for the grace of God go many businesses.

The punishment for gross negligence manslaughter – where breach of duty of care causes a death – has changed. Culpability is now assessed on a scale of low to high, with every point on that scale having a custodial sentence term attached to it. The lowest sentence to expect is a 2-year prison sentence. More serious negligence will carry a sentence of 8-12 years.

Gauntlet’s insurance team has put together a fabulous graphic called the ‘Claims Escalator’, which highlights the importance of being the fastest finger when it comes to reporting a claim, if you want to keep your premiums down.

Managing health and safety in a passenger transport, groupage or logistics operation is easier than you may think, if you take the nice and e-learning route to make life easier. And to prove this point, we’ve put together a tempting safety-focused package of training for your employees, which they can undergo without ever leaving the depot!

Dramatic as our headline may be, this is exactly what happened in August 2017, leading to 8 minibus passengers being killed on the M1. The most culpable driver involved had lost his licence 37 days before, but had not informed his employer. As this logistics company had not conducted a licence check during that period, they were unaware that he had no right to be on the road. Their reputation has been dragged through the mud, but on another day, at another time, it could have been one of thousands of other businesses in the limelight for all the wrong reasons. So how can you avoid it being yours?

A raft of six-figure and seven-figure fines have been handed out to businesses of all sizes, in many different sectors, at inquests across the country, as judges delivering health and safety sentences continue to follow their brief, under revised laws, to show no leniency to those who flout the regulations. Read on to discover how to prevent yourself becoming the next defendant.

Risks are ever-present on the road but those in the depot or yard can be just as dangerous. Sending employees away for training off-site can leave you short of resource, as well as incurring hefty course fees. With Gauntlet’s new e-learning packages, there’s an easy and affordable alternative.

In January, a coach driver driving through Europe was filmed using his mobile phone at the wheel. In the same month, a cyclist filmed a London bus driver texting whilst driving. Both cases made headlines and resulted in driver shame. But what’s the bigger picture here?

This month has seen a bus driver charged for killing a pedestrian whilst allegedly driving with excessive speed, losing control on the road and rolling the vehicle on to a grass verge. Worryingly, other claims about his dangerous driving have emerged. What could his employer have done?

Those flouting driver hours’ legislation have run a huge risk since March 5 - the day when DVSA traffic examiners found their powers and penalties significantly extended. Falling foul of roadside checks, could damage your reputation and hit your pocket. Do you understand how?

February 2, 2018 marked the second anniversary of health and safety sentencing changes. Since 2016, fines have been based on business turnover, the level of culpability and the likelihood of harm within a scenario. Actual injury or fatality does not need to have occurred. So, what’s been the impact and how could it see the wheels fall off your business?

The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 requires employers to not only protect their workers day-to-day, but to also consider additional risks that can occur in wintery weather. So are you prepared for your additional responsibilities this winter?

It’s easy for hauliers and passenger transport operators to regard risk on the road as higher than that around the yard or garage. A recent fine shows why thinking like this can be very costly.

The issue of drivers not having the right permissions and licences to drive on UK roads has made the headlines recently, so just how sure are you that your drivers are driving legally?

If you’re turning a blind eye to where your drivers park up, or don’t ask questions when it comes to their rest periods, you could find yourself picking up the tab for fines that your drivers incur, due to changes in the law.

Long-established health and safety consultant, Gauntlet Risk Management, is warning that evolution in catering equipment and kitchen design, along with chronic employee shortages in the catering sector, are creating a ‘new generation’ of fire risks not readily appreciated by restaurant and hotel owners.

Two motor sector companies have already paid the price for flouting health and safety law this year. Two directors of one are together serving prison sentences totting up to 12 years and 9 months; the other has been fined £900,000 plus £5820 in costs. Showing ‘duty of care’ has never been more important.

A little dust may have settled since October 28, when an employment tribunal decreed Über drivers can be classed as employees, not self-employed workers, but the fallout from this decision has major repercussions for the transport sector and health and safety policies. If you’re not über-concerned about this, here’s why you should be.

If you’re one of the 42 per cent of UK companies using temporary agency staff as drivers, do you understand the risks attached? Statistics show agency drivers are more likely to be involved in collisions - bad news for your fleet and your annual insurance claims tally. So how do you handle this?

Bad winter weather undeniably leads to an increased risk of accidents and insurance claims, but what fleet manager and bus and coach operators need to remember is that it preys on driver weaknesses, apparent all year round and just more obviously exposed in winter. This could be poor decision making, having a tendency to drive too fast, or brake too late, or driving too close to vehicles in front. So what’s the answer?

How much trust do you put in your drivers and is the answer ‘too much’? If drivers have been with you a long time, is your trust based on historical situations, or current ones? Have you really any idea how much your drivers drink the night before they take to the wheel? How can you tackle drink driving?

Head out for cake, enjoy lunch in a hostelry with a vibrant specials board, or buy street food from a mobile vendor and there’s a good chance your chosen caterer’s display cabinet, chalkboard or stall will have no immediately accessible information about allergens lurking within what you are about to eat.