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Langleys Solicitors - new 'Business Champion'.

30 March 2010

Legal firm promotes occupational road risk management to businesses after winning 'Business Champion' status.

Occupational road safety expertise gathered at Langleys Solicitors has resulted in the launch of an outreach programme to lead other businesses as the organisation becomes the first legal firm to secure ‘business champion’ status from the Government-backed ‘Driving for Better Business’ campaign, which is delivered by RoadSafe.

With offices in York and Lincoln and servicing businesses in Yorkshire, Lincolnshire and the East Midlands, Langleys operates just six company cars and two pool cars, but more than 150 of its almost 300 employees drive their own cars on business.

Langleys is the 41st organisation to become a ‘business champion’, which are used by the campaign to promote the financial, legal and moral reasons for organisations across the public and private sectors to invest in at-work driving safety.

With an estimated up to 200 road deaths and serious injuries a week resulting from crashes involving at work drivers, and more employees killed and seriously injured on Britain’s roads while driving on behalf of their employer than in any other work-related activity, there is an ever tightening legislative crackdown to stop the carnage.

It is against that background that Langleys decided to show leadership and implement its own comprehensive best practice driving for work policy even though its staff have a first class safety record with few accidents and all of them very minor.

Partner Jeremy Scott, who has championed the road safety strategy, said: “Langleys is a full service legal firm which has specialist capability in both health and safety as well as road traffic legislation.

“We are pleased to be recognised as a ‘business champion’ and a supporter of the ‘Driving for Better Business’ campaign because we believe that it delivers awareness on an issue which employers can no longer afford to ignore. Langleys believes that the solution to managing driving at work is fully risk assessed policies and procedures.”

Uniquely among the existing ‘business champions’, Mr Scott and a number of other Langleys’ employees have first-hand knowledge of the potential life-changing consequences a road crash or a breach of road traffic laws or health and safety legislation can have, through the cases they deal with.

Mr Scott said: “Most driving activities undertaken by our staff are in response to their clients’ requirements, whether travelling to their business locations or attending court. I often travel to police interviews or accident reconstructions following a serious accident.”

The completion of the organisation’s internal review of at-work driving policies and procedures and the strengthening of its ethos of collective and individual responsibility for safety resulted in major cultural shift in the business.

Mr Scott said: “Initially, there was some resistance to the idea that the business had responsibility for people’s driving activities. However the process of explaining how the law was now being enforced, and why Langleys considered activities carried out by individuals driving at work to be their responsibility, resulted in staff realising that we as an employer were taking our duty of care responsibilities seriously and that they were the beneficiaries. Attitudes and perceptions quickly changed.”

He added: “The far-reaching internal review and the compilation of the policy and procedures has also enabled Langleys to offer our clients better advice and assistance on compliance with occupational road risk management legislation.

“Although every business is unique in its requirements, Langleys is better able to identify management shortcomings on the basis of our own experience.

“We are now using that knowledge and expertise to improve awareness within the local and regional business community of the importance of managing work-related road safety through the development of an outreach programme. This has had an impact on the image of the business and has also assisted in generating work in a field which was until recently only a marginal activity.”

As part of Langleys driving for work policy all drivers must ensure that:
• They have informed their insurer that they use their car for work and are covered by business insurance
• They do not drive at work unless authorised to do so following the completion of a driver risk assessment
• They drive in a safe and competent manner, in accordance with UK road traffic laws and the Highway Code
• They inform their manager, the health and safety manager and the relevant authorities of any accidents whilst driving at work, and also follow the prescribed procedure for such accidents
• They inform their manager and the health and safety manager of all licence disqualifications; withdrawals; revocations; endorsements; and of any health problems which may affect their ability to drive
• They ensure that their vehicle is roadworthy; is maintained in a safe condition; and has a current MoT certificate where applicable
• They do not consume alcohol or other mind altering substances as prohibited by law - some prescription drugs could adversely affect a person’s ability to drive. In such cases drivers need to be guided by the prescribing doctor
• They inform their manager and the health and safety manager of any other matter which may affect their ability to drive.

Among the safe-driving initiatives introduced by Langleys are:
• A policy to ensure vehicles are serviced in accordance with manufacturers’ recommendations
• A policy to ensure vehicle defects are reported by staff and immediately rectified
• Encouraging employees to complete basic checks on vehicles regularly (for example, tyres, oil, water, lights, windscreen washers/wipers, washer bottles and brakes)
• Providing road safety advice to drivers.

Michael Parish, Programme Consultant for the ‘Driving for Better Business’ campaign, said: “Langleys is a first-class example of a ‘business champion’ doing what we hope all our campaign members will do: put their own house in order and then take their message to the business community in which they work.

“Being a legal firm and therefore often involved in handling the aftermath of a road crash, Langleys is all too aware of the heartache that an accident can cause. As a result, the knowledge and experience it has in occupational road risk management will be beneficial to many other organisations.”

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