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Risks in real time

By Kenny Rutt
Motor Risk Manager

Three ways dynamic risk assessments lower risk for drivers and fleet managers

Standardised risk assessments are common in many business activities, but ‘one size fits all’ is not a phrase that we recommend applying when considering the risk profiles of drivers.

Driving activities take place in a live environment, which is largely uncontrolled and can present a range of unexpected risks. As an ever-changing risk landscape, businesses operating on the road should consider using an adaptable, dynamic risk assessment which is likely to mitigate hazards far more effectively.

When situations and environments change, employees – especially drivers – must be able to continually assess and make decisions which keep themselves and those around them safe in real time.


What is a dynamic risk assessment?

A dynamic risk assessment is ‘the continuous process of identifying hazards, assessing risk, taking action to eliminate or reduce risk, monitoring and reviewing, in the rapidly changing circumstances of an operational incident[1].

It is designed to complement a formal, standardised risk assessment and provide a framework for use in real time, where situations are developing.

When drivers are on the road, hazards can appear without warning – conducting a dynamic risk assessment offers greater flexibility for drivers to react quickly and adapt to unexpected risks. Taking drivers through the dynamic framework ensures they have the relevant information readily available to them, to assess and respond in the safest manner.

Some environments will naturally increase risk, such as those with concealed or limited access or egress, confined spaces, densely populated areas and or roads with poor lighting. A dynamic risk assessment encourages drivers ‘expect the unexpected’ and be aware of the bigger picture.

Putting a dynamic risk assessment into action on-the-spot means drivers asking questions and responding flexibly: “What can I see? What can’t I see? What can I reasonably expect to happen? Do I need to postpone or change route?”

With this approach, dynamic risk assessments enhance ‘static’ or formal risk assessments and can more effectively prevent or minimise damage to property/equipment, serious injuries, or fatalities.


Three ways dynamic risk assessments lower risk


  1. Employee confidence and wellbeing

Drivers feel more confident and experience less stress when they operate under a flexible but supportive framework. Dynamic risk assessments help alleviate anxieties around unknown hazards and boost driver confidence in their own ability to respond well to unforeseen events.

Those who drive for work often feel under time pressure to complete tasks, sometimes due to systems such as ‘task and finish’ or external influences (e.g., family responsibilities). However, the dynamic approach of continually pausing, assessing, and moving slowly helps reduce risk. Dynamic risk assessments also indicate where individualised support or training is required, via e-learning, training, or on-road guidance. The positive impact of rising confidence and capability is realised in safer outcomes for employees, employers, and the public.


  1. Safety on the road

With dynamic risk assessments drivers take a more proactive approach to workplace safety by identifying and mitigating the risks before experiencing harm. It also helps identify the drivers who are most at risk. This method helps drivers change or adapt any working procedures on-the-spot to avoid or control their vehicles as hazards arise.

For example, a high proportion of vehicle incidents occur in areas where space is limited, drivers are rushing or where the vehicle is too big to be in the area. Within the dynamic risk assessment, drivers may choose to avoid certain areas and walk to a delivery site, request a reversing assistant, or overshoot the destination, to turn around and return from another direction, ensuring a safer parking position.


  1. Reducing claims and costs

Utilising dynamic risk assessments to inform and modify reactions to local environment hazards also helps develop preventative actions which, through reducing the chance of accidents, significantly reduces claims costs.

Businesses and fleet managers engaging with dynamic risk assessments won’t only experience a fall in overall incident numbers, but should also see savings correlate with lower replacement hire costs and reduced vehicle downtime.


Continuous learning and adjustment

Dynamic risk assessments are ‘live’ throughout, offering continuous learning from the initial evaluation and chosen action, to the development stage where a different course of action may be required, and the closing stage (conducting a debrief, for example).

Final stages should incorporate near-miss reporting, as action can be taken in the future to reduce the risks by updating more formal risk assessments and sharing the information with colleagues. For drivers, this could include actions such as:

  • Changing the time of delivery when roads are quieter, with fewer vulnerable road users
  • Changing the order of customer visits so that vehicles approach from another direction
  • Using smaller vehicles where possible

Dynamic risk assessments benefit drivers, fleet managers and businesses across areas including safety, wellbeing, and operations, and the lessons learned can inform regular risk assessment and management frameworks to further strengthen a company or fleet’s risk profile.

While every driving journey will be different, utilising the dynamic risk assessment for drivers offers a constant opportunity for new knowledge, better support, and greater improvements.





Your contact

Your contact

Kenneth Rutt

Kenneth Rutt

Motor Risk Manager

Five steps to conduct a dynamic risk assessment:


Identify the initial hazard: Drivers should be aware of likely and possible risks associated with the type of vehicle, road, and task before starting their journey, alongside being alert to hazards appearing throughout the drive.

Consider who, what or how someone could potentially be harmed: Is there a chance for damage to occur to the vehicle, equipment, or property? Could a person be injured?

Assess the risks and outline the worst-case scenario: how serious are the risks and what is the likelihood of a worst-case scenario happening?

Take action to reduce or remove the risks: What can you do before driving and what are your options when on the road?

Be prepared to postpone or cancel the task: Is it safe to continue with the task? What are the criteria for postponement or cancellation?