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  • <Ken Cook

Road Safety Week - What you need to know - Part One

This week is Road Safety Week; a great number of businesses have employees whose roles involve driving, either full-time or as part of their jobs.

However, there are many factors, both organisational and legal, involved in ensuring that these employees carry out their jobs safely both in respect of themselves and anyone else with whom they come into contact.

This week, we are looking at those factors, highlighting what both employers and employees need to know to keep themselves safe and legally compliant.

When is the employer responsible for driver health and safety?

Employers’ health and safety obligations do not apply to travel between an employee’s home and usual place of work, but do if they travel from home to another location for work purposes.

Checks before driving

Before an employee drives for work, you will need to make sure:

  • the employee has the right licence to drive the vehicle;

  • the vehicle is properly insured, including for business use;

  • the vehicle is roadworthy. We recommend you have a vehicle safety checklist to which you can refer.

Risk assessment

You will need to carry out a risk assessment for any driving on company business.

Your risk assessment will need to consider potential issues such as:

  • driver fatigue;

  • accidents;

  • the vehicle breaking down;

  • the vehicle overturning;

  • objects falling from the vehicle;

  • medical conditions that may affect an employee’s ability to drive;

  • manual handling when loading and unloading the vehicle.

This list is not exhaustive. Risks are specific to each business.

Driving policy

You will need a driving policy that covers at a minimum:

  • employees using company cars and personal vehicles for work;

  • expectations of employees with regards to road safety. For example, wearing a seat belt, not speeding, not driving under the influence and not using a mobile phone when driving;

  • hours employees are allowed to drive certain types of vehicle;

  • licence and insurance requirements;

  • what to do in the event of an accident;

  • the training employees will receive;

  • vehicle maintenance;

  • consequences for employees who do not follow the policy.

There are a great many laws and regulations surrounding driving and road safety and it is often difficult for employers, particularly in small businesses, to keep up with them all.

This becomes all the more important if there is an incident involving an employee while they are driving, even if there is no injury or fatality involved. The advice and guidance of legal and safety professionals is crucial in developing safe working practices and policies.

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