Health & Safety for Employees on the road.
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.
The lists below are practical considerations for employers.
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 (eg 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.
HSE and work related road safety
In 2000, the Government, in its Road Safety Strategy Tomorrow’s Roads: safer for everyone, set out ten-year targets for the reduction of road deaths and injuries.
An independent Work-Related Road Safety Task Group was appointed in May of that year. This was a joint initiative of the Government and the Health and Safety Commission. Its remit was to recommend measures to reduce at-work road traffic incidents.
The Group recognised that many different types of vehicles are used for work purposes, for example lorries, vans, taxis, coaches, buses, emergency services and utilities vehicles, company cars, construction and agricultural machinery, motorcycles, mopeds and bicycles. Additionally many people work on, or near the road, for example maintenance workers, refuse collectors, postal workers, vehicle breakdown employees and the police.
The Terms of Reference for this Group were to:
- Establish accurate casualty and incident statistics for work-related activities on or near public roads;
- Establish the main causes and methods of preventing at-work road traffic incidents;
- Promote a public debate on best practice in relation to preventing at-work road traffic incidents;
- Agree minimum management standards for employers, the self-employed and others for work-related journeys and other work activities on the highway;
- Propose, if possible non-legislative, ways to bring together road traffic law with health and safety at work law;
- Propose ways in which those who enforce road traffic law and those who enforce health and safety at work law can work together.
The Group was chaired by Richard Dykes (formerly of Consignia) and included representatives from the Police, Traffic Commissioners, employers, workers, safety professionals, local authorities, driving standards, passenger transport, motorcyclists, freight transport, motorists and policy makers.
The Task Group initiated dialogue with a wide range of stakeholders and issued a discussion document as part of its consultation process. The Group also hosted a stakeholder seminar at the Barbican Centre in London.
The Task Group estimated that up to a third of all road traffic accidents involve someone who is at work at the time! This may account for over 20 fatalities and 250 serious injuries every WEEK!