Businesses have a duty of care to their employees and clients health and safety, along with ensuring the services being used or provided is legal and safe.
LicensedTransportUncovered.com (LTU), strives for high standards of health and safety across the passenger transport industry. The current regulations rely heavily on an operator or owner driver keeping high standards throughout a twelve month period, because for 362 to 364 days of the year the council that regulates a vehicle won’t have any contact with either the driver or vehicle.
A vehicle only has to be road worthy on the day of a council or TfL inspection for that vehicle to be allowed to continue being used to carry members of the public. Depending on the age of the vehicle tests which are similar to an MoT can only be conducted up to three times a year as set out by law.
An investigation by LTU found that vehicle maintenance can be non-existent on a substantial amount of vehicles, with the vehicles owner using the council or TfL vehicle inspections as a way of finding out what’s wrong with their vehicle. This approach endangers the lives of passengers as well as other road users.
Even the most respected business who takes health and safety extremely seriously are endangering their employees lives by putting trust in their passenger transport supplier to ensure that any vehicle is safe and road worthy at all times. LTU repeatedly finds vehicles that fail to even be road legal, even though they are carrying paying passengers. Some of the shocking examples include vehicles with tyres so bald that the structural integrity of the tyre has been breached, and in some cases all four tyres are illegal.
Vehicles which fail MoT’s or council inspections have done so because the vehicles’ brakes were below the legal minimum or handbrakes having little to no ability to hold the vehicle. Other examples include serious defects on vital components which have included cracked suspension, fumes from exhausts entering the cabin area, cracked windscreens or faults with the steering.
We have investigated a number of high-profile businesses to ascertain what systems and safeguards are in place throughout the life of a contract and have found a number of flaws which could result in businesses being prosecuted under the health and safety act.
But, it’s not just vehicles that pose a risk. The taxi and private hire industry successfully campaigned to be excluded from the working time directive which means there are no legal restrictions on the number of hours a driver can drive per day or week. As we see it the industry is faced with two problems, the first is employer pressure. We have heard of numerous stories of drivers working excessively long hours. It seems that in these times of job insecurity employees are very reluctant to speak out, even when asked to work unsafe hours.
What clients should consider is, when working long hours more than a quarter of employees feel depressed (27%), one third feel anxious (34%), and more than half feel irritable (58%). Would you want to be driven by someone in that frame of mind?
The second problem with excessive hours is in the self-employed sector, many of the one man bands out there are struggling to strike a safe balance between the hours they work and their health. Work-life balance is about people having a measure of control over when, where and how they will work, easier said than done in this ever more demanding industry. That said the self-employed need to take responsibility
It is important that you have some time off and you enjoy it and don’t spend the whole time worrying about taking time off. It is necessary to take time off in order to be totally productive during work time. The body and mind need time to relax and you will actually be more productive if you have appropriate rest and relaxation.
As a self-employed operator there are a lot of pressures and responsibilities. There are days that will be tougher than others, but as long as you can pull yourself back from work and realise you need a time out – you should be able to get the balance right, but most don’t as they struggle to make a living.
We firmly believe that drivers need to take personal responsibility for their work-life balance. This includes speaking up when work expectations and demands are too much. Also Employers need to be aware of where the pressures lie in order to address them.
From research conducted by LicensedTransportUncovered.com, even the most health and safety conscience businesses are FAILING to carry out the correct due-diligence when procuring the services of taxis, private hire, chauffeurs and limousines.
An awareness and thorough understanding of regulatory concerns is essential when procuring the services of taxi’s, private hire, chauffeurs or limousines. However, with the focus in corporate transactions primarily on the financial aspects there may be a temptation to view regulatory issues as less important. Failure to carefully consider regulatory issues such as the licensing laws, health & safety and environment could lead to a company purchasing services from a business which is operating illegally or using a fleet that is poorly maintained.
Breach of health and safety legislation is a criminal offence with potential fines of up to £20,000 in the Magistrates’ Court and unlimited fines in the Crown Court. Investment in expert due diligence is therefore crucial, both to save money and identify safety and reputational issues.
Licensedtransportuncovered.com, can help businesses navigate the legal minefield of the industry as well as providing expert knowledge of areas within the industry that pose a risk to clients who uses these services. Our services can include background checks and ongoing assessments of companies to ensure that they are abiding by your strict high standards on health and safety.
Currently, we are working with a number of councils and trade associations to trial certain products or services to help make the industry safety for consumers and businesses. Our proactive approach enables us to pass on this information and knowledge to our clients to help them procure safe and legitimate passenger transport services.