Managing the risks to employees who drive at work requires more than just compliance with road traffic legislation.
The Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 requires employers to take appropriate steps to ensure the health and safety of their employees and others who may be affected by their activities when at work. This includes the time when they are driving or riding at work, whether this is in a company or hired vehicle, or in the employee’s own vehicle.
There will always be risks associated with driving. Although these cannot be completely controlled, an employer has a responsibility to take all reasonable steps to manage these risks and do everything reasonably practicable to protect people from harm in the same way as they would in the workplace.
Drivers should be:
Competent and capable of doing their work in a way that is safe for them and others:
- properly trained
- sufficiently fit and healthy to drive safely and not put themselves and others at risk
- provided with information that will help them reduce risk (e.g. recommended tyre pressures)
- provided with appropriate advice on driving posture.
Vehicles should be:
- fit for the purpose for which they are used
- maintained in a safe condition and fit for the road.
Journey planning should:
- take account of appropriate routes
- incorporate realistic work schedules
- not put drivers at risk from fatigue
- take sufficient account of adverse weather conditions.
Employers are encouraged to seek the views of their employees, or their representatives, as they will have first-hand experience of what happens in practice.
As we return from lockdown, and our workforce slowly returns to a more normal work routine, we encourage employers to review their current road users policy, and risk assessments. Remember, workers may have been furloughed for a significant period of time, use of their vehicles may have reduced significantly, the roads themselves will have been quieter, but will become busier as lockdown eases. Any of these considerations may warrant a change in practice.