Driving at Work
Under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, employers must assess and prevent possible risks to their workforce, and this includes safety when driving as part of the job. Employees also have a certain amount of responsibility, however, to ensure they are driving in accordance with traffic legislation and are carrying out sufficient safety checks of the vehicles they drive.
Employers must ensure to provide the correct vehicles for the task in hand, and that all employees who drive them are fully trained and qualified for driving that type of vehicle. If the vehicle is used for a specific purpose, for example construction vehicles, or lorries transporting large loads, extra assessment should be undertaken in order to identify risks and prevent accidents to workers or to the public.
It is the employer’s responsibility to ensure work vehicles are regularly maintained to prevent problems occurring, rather than repairing malfunctions simply as and when they become apparent. Although maintenance is primarily down to the employer, the employee should do basic daily checks of tyres, lights and indicators before they begin driving and immediately report any problems of which they become aware.
Employers must make sure their workers are fully trained and in good health to drive the vehicle with which they are provided. They should also be given sufficient information about the risks of driving the vehicle and ways to prevent accidents.
An important aspect of safe driving is ensuring employees are given realistic schedules to prevent them having to speed and to allow them sufficient breaks and rests to prevent fatigue, which can result in traffic accidents. It is also necessary to choose the safest possible routes for the type of vehicle being driven, and also to take account of adverse weather conditions that could pose risks to drivers.