Tag Archives: employer

Using personal cars for business

By Emma Drew

May 17, 2013

Using personal cars for business

Research indicates that about 20 people are killed and 220 seriously injured every week in an accident involving someone using the road for work.*

Most employers will be aware that Health and Safety law applies to on-the-road work activities but they may not know that they owe the same duty of care to staff that drive their own vehicles for work as those who drive company owned, leased or hired vehicles.

Regardless of who owns the car, as an employer you may still be liable for the employee’s negligence in the event of an accident, by virtue of vicarious liability.

 A pedestrian was killed on a pelican crossing after being struck by an employee driving in his own vehicle after momentarily falling asleep at the wheel. Although driving on company business the employee failed to take out the necessary business insurance cover and the employer had no procedures in place to check this.

The employee was sentences to 3 years in prison and banned from driving for 10 years. The verdict on the directors and management involved is still awaited.

As an employer what should you do?

  • Fully consult staff of the company’s policy on safe driving, including conditions for own vehicle use
  • Where possible, use telephone, email and/or video conferencing as a substitute for travel
  • Consider using public transport which is safer and more environmentally friendly
  • Agree minimum vehicle standards and conditions of use:
    • ensure the vehicle is properly taxed
    • has a validMOT
    • valid insurance for business use (see below)
    • is serviced according to the manufacturer’s recommendations
    • not carry loads for which the vehicle is unsuited (a car is not a van)
    • not carry hazardous materials
    • only carry the number of passengers for whom there are seat belts
  • Raise awareness as part of recruitment, training and staff appraisals
  • Record and investigate crashes and incidents including damage-only ones.

Insurance for business use – classes of use

Class 1 – A person requiring business cover for themselves and/or their spouse/partner in connection with his/her business.

Class 2 – Permits the use of the vehicle for social, domestic and pleasure purposes and for the business of the Insured and the Insured’s employer or partner.

Class 3 – Permits the use of the vehicle for social, domestic and pleasure purposes and for the business of the Insured and the Insured’s employer or partner, including commercial travelling.

Commercial travelling is stated as; travelling around ‘cold calling’ on customers with the purpose of doing a deal (sale of goods or services). If employees are travelling to and from pre-arranged meetings this does not constitute commercial travelling.

Is there anything else I can do?

Help your staff to carry out regular vehicle safety checks, we recommend you provide a checklist to encourage staff that drive for work to conduct safety checks of their vehicle:

  • Tyres have enough tread and are at the correct pressure
  • Oil, coolant and windscreen wash levels are correct
  • Brakes are working
  • Lights and indicators are clean and working
  • Windscreen and windows are not damaged
  • No signs of vehicle damage
  • Washers and wipers are working
  • Mirrors are correctly positioned.

Contact us

For further information on how we can help please contact your usual Perkins Slade representative, alternatively contact us on 0121 698 8000 or email corporate@perkins-slade.com

Perkins Slade is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.

Further Advice

*www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/indg382.pdf – HSE Guide,‘Driving atWork’

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Health and Safety Executive Fee is now up and running

By Emma Drew

April 9, 2013

Health and Safety Executive Fee is now up and running

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) new Fee For Intervention (FFI) regime, introduced on 1st October 2012, recovers the costs of investigating and carrying out its regulatory functions from those found to be in breach of health and safety law.

There are about 844,000 premises in Great Britain, with 73,000 in Scotland where the HSE is the enforcing authority. The FFI hourly rate is £124, and the potential benefit from FFI is capped at £10 million in 2012-13, £17 million in 2013-14 and £23 million in 2014-15, with any excess going to the Treasury.

At present, the taxpayer meets the costs of the investigations. The FFI has been introduced to reduce the burden on the taxpayer and to encourage businesses and organisations to comply or put matters right immediately when they don’t.

Who does it apply to?
FFI applies to duty holders where HSE is the enforcing authority. This includes employers, self-employed people who put others (including their employees or members of the public) at risk, and some individuals acting in a capacity other than as an employee, e.g. partners.
It includes:

  • Public and limited companies;
  • General, limited and limited liability partnerships; and
  • Crown and public bodies
  • Charities, voluntary organisations, sports governing bodies and clubs are NOT exempt.

The only exemptions are with self-employed people who only put themselves at risk, and FFI will not apply where another fee is payable under separate arrangements with the HSE for that work/sector, or to those who choose to work with certain biological agents.

What impact does this have on me?
We want to highlight that fines are uninsurable and your Public Liability policy WILL NOT cover you in the event you are found to be in breach of health and safety law. Our advice is to review your policy and identify whether it includes legal expenses cover as you may be able to claim your defence costs.

We would further encourage you to keep an up-to-date and effective inspection programme, and programme of repairs to minimise any risk.

Contact us
If you would like to speak to someone in more detail about managing risk more effectively or to review your current liability policy please contact your usual Perkins Slade representative, alternatively contact us on 0121 698 8000 or email info@perkins-slade.com

Find out more
Click here to read the published guidance on the application of FFI
HSE will review how FFI is working after the first twelve months of operation, and within three years of the regime coming into effect.

Perkins Slade is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.

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Wintry Hazards? Hard to believe!

By Emma Drew

December 23, 2011

Wintry Hazards? Hard to believe!

With plenty of sunshine, mild temperatures and talk of one of the warmest autumns on record, it is hard to imagine a winter as bad as that experienced in 2010; it was the coldest December ever in theUK, since Met Office records began in 1910, with a mean temperature of -1°C.

Should conditions take a turn for the worse this winter it is important that employers and occupiers are prepared and aware of their duty of care to staff and visitors. All occupiers have a duty to rid their walkways, car parks and driveways, as far as reasonably possible of snow and ice. For example falls on snow or ice resulted in nearly 15,000 hospital admissions in 2010/11 according to Hospital Episode Statistics, part of the NHS information centre.

Here are our top 5 ways of preventing winter accidents, in accordance with recently issued guidance from the HSE: 

  1. Identify all the areas used by pedestrians and employees most likely to be affected, including walkways and/or car parks
  2. Suitably treat identified areas with grit and/or salt
  3. Monitor temperatures and weather forecasts as prevention is key
  4. Put up signage warning visitors that snow and ice is a hazard, however it must be noted that this alone is not sufficient prevention
  5. Lack of knowledge or delay will not be a defence.

If you would like to discuss your business insurance and/or risk management needs, please call your usual Perkins Slade contact, alternatively  telephone 0121 698 8000 or email: b.ramos@perkins-slade.com

Perkins Slade is authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority.

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Festive cheer or festive fear?

By Emma Drew

November 24, 2011

Festive cheer or festive fear?

As the festive period looms, many of us will be entering party mode both in our work and personal lives. It seems that in December there is a party, function or event almost every night of the week and as a result things can sometimes get a little messy. The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) website states that more than 80,000 people a year need hospital treatment for injuries such as falls, cuts and burns during the festive period.


Although a party may be planned down to the finest detail such as decoration, food, drink and transport it can only take one minor mishap to ruin the whole experience. Sometimes these mishaps are covered by a business’ or venues’ public liability insurance, however, with a more robust approach to Risk Management these incidents are less likely to happen, and organisations less likely to be held accountable.

More than ever, it is important to remember that work functions are just that, and as such the employer is responsible for what happens to employees (and other attendees) whilst at work.

Employers can be held vicariously liable for the injuries sustained whilst at work functions.

Tragedy occurred in 2005 when a man was left in hospital with severe burns after several employees were playing around with chemicals at a Christmas function. Under the Occupational Health & Safety Act 2004, both the employer and employees have a duty to act responsibly in the workplace, which does not necessarily cease at the end of a shift.

Tips for employers during the run up to the Christmas party season would include:

  • Ensure that properly drafted Policies are in place which clearly state that the organisation will not tolerate bullying, harassment or discrimination. Ensure that each states that the scope of the policy includes work-related social events.
  • Staff should be reminded that inappropriate behaviour at the Christmas party will not be tolerated and may be treated as a disciplinary matter in accordance with the organisation’s Disciplinary Policy.
  • Employers should be satisfied that the chosen venue fulfils their health and safety obligations to employees and is suitable for the event.
  • Any complaints made subsequent to the Christmas party should be treated seriously and investigated promptly.
  • To summarise, ultimately ensure that systems and measures are in place in advance so that you and your team can have a Merry Christmas and enjoy your party!

If you are unsure if your insurance policy covers that all important Christmas party or other event why not call Perkins Slade on 0121 698 8145 or email: b.ramos@perkins-slade.com

Alternatively contact your usual Perkins Slade representative. Our experienced team of advisors are at hand to give advice on the coverage you’ll need to ensure your event is remembered for the right reasons.

Perkins Slade is authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority.

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