05/16/2008

Vehicle Technology - A Manager's Guide

Roads and vehicles are an essential part of everyday life. Businesses and
organisations use them for a variety of reasons, whether it is carrying goods
or passengers, or simply travelling from A to B. Unfortunately, driving is the
most dangerous work activity that most people do. Research indicates that
people are killed and seriously injured every week in crashes involving someone
who was driving, riding or otherwise using the road forwork.

British Health and Safety Executive (HSE) Guidelines,"Driving at Work", state
that "health and safety law applies to on-the-road work activities as to all
work activities and the risks should be effectively managed within a health and
safety system".

Therefore, within the framework which they should already have in place for
managing health and safety at work, employers must conduct suitable risk
assessments and put in place all 'reasonably practicable' measures to ensure
that work related journeys are safe, staff are fit and are competent to drive
safely and that vehicles are fit-for-purpose and in a safe condition. Such
measures will more than pay for themselves by reducing accident costs,many of
which will be uninsured.

The Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations also require employers to
ensure that work equipment (including vehicles and the equipment in them) is
suitable and safe, and employees are properly trained in its use.

An increasing number of vehicles, especially fleet vehicles, are being fitted
with various devices designed to help the driver drive safely, or to help the
driver do other things, such as schedule deliveries and pick-ups more
efficiently. While these different technologies can, if used properly, reduce
the risk of drivers crashing, they can also increase the risk (e.g., by
distracting the driver) if not used properly.

Different technology communicates with drivers in different ways, and it is
crucial to ensure that drivers understand what the vehicle is 'telling' them.

Warnings

Vehicles have had severalwarning systems in place for many years. For example,
the low fuelwarning light on the dashboard. More recent technology provides
visual, and/or audiblewarnings, but there are also tactile alerts, such as a
vibrating pedal.

Intervention

Systems can intervene and assist a driver by augmenting their actions. For
example, Electronic Stability Control (ESC) helps to prevent a skid during an
emergency manoeuvre by braking individual wheels, independently of the driver.

Control

Ultimately, vehicles may take on a level of automation, taking control of
various aspects of driving and preventing dangerous circumstances from
occurring.

It is essential that managers and drivers understand what such technology can
and cannot do,how to use it safely and the potential risks of mis-using it.

A guide, recently published by the British Royal Society for the Prevention of
Accidents, is intended to help managers to assess the likely benefits, and
potential problems, of different types of technology.




Further info


AplusA-online.de - Source: Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents