LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM -- (Marketwired) -- 06/28/13 -- Five years on from the introduction of the Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act, AXA Business Insurance warns that many businesses with company vans are not following the most basic of steps to protect themselves against potential prosecution in the event of an accident.
Estimates suggest that a third of all traffic accidents in the UK involve someone who is at work at the time and may account for over 20 fatalities a week.(1) Yet the study from AXA, one of the UK's leading business insurers, among 300 businesses with vans suggested that nearly half (45 per cent) are totally unaware of the term Corporate Manslaughter.(2)
As well as a general lack of awareness, the research from AXA revealed three main areas of concern in the way businesses manage their vans: poor admin in relation to the paperwork for drivers and vehicles; unchecked damage to van bodywork and windscreens and; a casual attitude to core maintenance required to keep vehicles safe.
Darrell Sansom, managing director at AXA Business Insurance says: "Corporate Manslaughter is a very serious charge that carries an unlimited fine. While the number of businesses who are simply unaware of its existence is alarming, our research shows that negligence is apparent among those who are both aware and unaware. We want to warn businesses that keeping on top of relevant HSE legislation is vital to avoid leaving themselves exposed."
Key findings of the research revealed:
-- three in ten companies have not checked the insurance details for those driving their company vans-- 8 per cent of companies have failed to check whether those driving the company van hold a valid driver's licence-- 85 per cent of those interviewed were confident that their company van(s)' MOTs are up to date - leaving 15 per cent who weren't-- 6 per cent "don't know" who is responsible for the servicing of the company van(s)
State of (un)repair
-- 46 per cent of company vans carry minor, and probably insignificant scratches/dents, but a further 25 per cent have medium sized dents and 14 per cent have large and unassessed areas of damage that could potentially affect the safety of the van-- 22 per cent have unrepaired damage to exhausts bumpers or mirrors-- and a massive 55 per cent have chips in their windscreen - something that is easily fixed but left unattended can lead to serious issues with driver visibility
A lack of maintenance
-- 9 per cent of those questioned serviced their vehicles less than once a year and a further 6 per cent never do so-- more than one in ten (12 per cent) checked tyre pressure and tread just once a year or even less. And 5 per cent never do it-- fluid levels (oil and water) are left unchecked for a year or more by 15 per cent with another 6 per cent never checking. Only one in three will top up the anti-freeze when winter weather sets in-- one in four test the brake function/fluid of their van just once a year or less