Maintaining your Duty of Care under the UK Corporate Manslaughter Act

By Kassidi Koronkowski on March 12, 2019
Tags: Data Collection

Staying Compliant and Keeping Roads Safe in the UK


More than a quarter of all motor vehicle accidents involve a driver that is driving under the circumstances of their employment. Health and safety laws apply to work-related activities that occur on the road in the same way as they do in the workplace. The UKCorporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act holds companies and employers liable where serious failures in the management of health and safety have resulted in a fatality. Juries in such cases will consider how the work-related motor vehicle activities are managed – such as any systems or processes which are in place to help manage safety and how those were operated in practice.  Companies found guilty will be liable to unlimited fines and may have to publicly declare their conviction and financial penalty.

A Business's Duty to Road Safety

Companies have a legal duty to adequately inspect their vehicles and put in place suitable arrangements to manage health and safety. Vehicle inspections must ensure (among other concerns) that vehicles are fit for the purpose for which they are used, that vehicles are maintained in a safe and fit condition, and that drivers’ health, and possibly safety, is not being put at risk.

Vehicle inspections do not stop at ensuring that the vehicle itself is safe, however. For example, companies must ensure that the drivers themselves are safe. Inspections must ensure that drivers are competent and capable, that the drivers are properly trained, that drivers have clear safety instructions, that drivers are fit and healthy, and that as an employer, you understand your duties under health and safety laws when hiring contractors and subcontractors. Inspections must also cover the driver’s journey, covering issues like the thoroughness of route plans, whether work schedules are realistic, is enough time allotted to complete drives safely, and are weather conditions considered when planning journeys. There is an immense amount for companies to cover.

Negligence Repercussions 

If one of your employees is killed while driving for work, and there is evidence that serious management failures resulted in a ‘gross breach of a relevant duty of care,’ your company could be at risk of being prosecuted under the Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act. It is therefore essential for employers to diligently compile safety reports when doing inspections to avoid liability. The more an employer can document the inspections they do, the more efficient the inspections will be, the safer employees are, and the more protected the company is from costly litigation. However, risk assessment is about identifying and taking sensible measures to control the risks in your workplace, not about creating huge amounts of paperwork.

The best way for employers to diligently document inspections while avoiding copious amounts of paperwork is to invest in an advanced mobile forms software. Such technology gives employers the best of both worlds. Companies can efficiently and flexibly keep track of and document vehicle inspections from multiple locations, and even on the go, and aggregate the data in real time. This way employers can keep excellent records, keeping their employees safe, and their company safe from censure, while reducing paperwork. Companies can then use the software to analyze the data they gather, fostering better practices by finding potential deficiencies in machinery and workforce.


Now you can easily modernize the way you are conducting and auditing truck inspections. Whether you are looking to improve your data handling processes or improve the safety of your truck operations, we hope you consider using GoCanvas as your data collection tool. Sign up for GoCanvas free and give our platform a try today!

Interested in learning more? Check out our eBook on 4 Ways Mobile Inspection Forms Can Keep Your Trucks on the Road!

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