I was really interested to read an excellent article by Tim Deakin in Route One magazine where he had interviewed the always interesting and I have to say on occasions very funny Jonathan Backhouse from leading legal experts Backhouse Jones.Tthe northern based Company who have long since been held in very high regard within the Industry.
Jonathan was talking about the high importance of responsible employees keeping a keen eye out for the mental and physical welfare of those who drive professionally for a living, and the real and highly serious legal and moral implications of not looking after your work force. Sadly some high-profile tragedies have very much focused attention on the vulnerability of passengers. The tragic German Wings pilot suicide and murder of the poor souls on board brought home just how vital it is that Companies really do know their staff.
In addition the horror of the Glasgow bin lorry disaster which saw 6 people killed when the driver mIs-lead 3 doctors as well as his employers as to his medical history which he knew to be suspect at least. Has turned the emphasis right back on the employer and not the person. Now while some might think this scenario to be unfair, the truth is that it does not matter, the law will decide and if you are found to be wanting then you personally as a Director will be accountable.
Therefore Jonathan`s timely reminder to ensure that as responsible employers we need to have robust and clearly transparent systems in place to ensure that if something bad happens when the HSE come knocking on your door that you are ready and able to convince them that you had done all that you could. Anything less than that I am afraid might find you losing everything including your freedom.
So, just heed his advice and ask yourself the basic questions. For example what do you do to ensure that you are watching out for your employees. Do you notice changes in behaviour, attitude, character? Do you insist that drugs and alcohol tests are carried out and results stored. It is a true adage but the better your relationship with your people the better. But ,how with a large mobile workforce just how do you build those relationships.
Well one obvious answer is by developing employee apps as most people now have their own smart phones a lot of two-way interaction can take place allowing Companies new ways of communicating without being intrusive. So for what it is worth do yourself a favour and try to get a read of the Route One article, it could one day help to not only save your job, reputation, and liberty, but even more important save some innocent persons life.