Fleet safety: the legal landscape

Commercial fleet operators in all industries – from quarrying and agriculture to construction and waste management – are under increasing pressure to comply with the very highest safety standards in order to prevent accidents and injuries at work. Improving the safety and compliance of a fleet, whether  semi-truck, machinery or refuse trucks, makes sense on several levels. First and foremost, a rigorous approach will protect employees, but it can also strengthen commercial relationships and ultimately build a stronger business.

When employers fail to meet their duty of care, there can be devastating consequences. Legislation in countries all over the world is designed to protect workers and prevent corporate negligence, with many enforcers prepared to bring criminal prosecutions against companies or individuals that break the law.

In the US, employers are subject to significant consequences when workplace deaths occur, from both state and federal safety regulators. Although there is no specific corporate homicide law, employers can be prosecuted under the Occupational Health and Safety Act. Where an employee’s death is determined to be directly caused by a ‘wilful’ violation of a safety regulation, a criminal prosecution may be brought with offenders facing up to six months in jail or a fine of up to $500,000.

In the UK, scores of businesses have been prosecuted under the Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act since it was introduced in 2007. Directors of companies can also be prosecuted individually for the offence of gross negligence manslaughter. From November 2018, new sentencing guidelines will come into effect for this charge, with judges now being advised to consider life in prison for the most serious offenders.

European countries each have their own national laws with regard to workplace safety, but EU members are all bound by the 1989 Framework Directive (89/391/EEC), which sets out robust guidelines. Failure to comply with the directive will lead to EU infringement procedures and heavy financial penalties.

The importance of stringent safety standards for commercial vehicles

Reducing the number of casualties on worksites and on public roads should be a primary aim for every fleet manager. Proving safety credentials is vital on several levels because many contractors will only approve bids from firms that can prove best practice.

Brigade Electronics works with fleet and transport managers all over the world to ensure commercial vehicles and mobile plant are fitted with top-performing safety devices. Our award-winning range of products help to combat the dangers of blind spots around a vehicle.

Brigade’s market-leading reversing alarm system, bbs-tek® White Sound®, uses broadband technology to create a distinctive ssh-ssh sound which is heard only in the danger zone. Backeye®360 is an intelligent camera monitor system designed to assist low-speed manoeuvring by providing the driver with a complete ‘bird’s-eye’ surround view of the vehicle in real time.

To find out more about Brigade and our full range of products, please get in touch.