Driving

Last reviewed on 22/11/2012 14:47

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Driving safely

It's not just while your employees are in the workplace that you have a legal responsibility to look after them. The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 (HASAW) requires you to ensure that none of your employees are put at risk as they carry out any work-related driving, for example:

  • using a van to make a delivery to a customer
  • using a car to make a sales call
  • using a forklift truck to move materials around a warehouse.

HASAW specifically excludes commuting for these regulations - unless the employee is travelling between home and a location that is not their usual place of work.

On the road

As well as the everyday hazards such as driving at speed, in bad weather, etc. employees who spend much of their time on the road can be at risk from:

  • unrealistic schedules and working patterns
  • tiredness
  • insufficient time allowed to take proper breaks, etc.
  • long-term health problems that may lead to them becoming unfit to drive: e.g. failing eyesight, persistent back pain, etc.

You should certainly be able to help solve the first three - and hopefully the last one can then become less of a problem as well! The benefits to you from managing work-related road safety can be considerable, no matter the size of your business. Case studies and research have shown that these benefits include:

  • fewer days lost due to injury
  • reduced risk of work-related ill health
  • reduced stress and improved morale

Using a mobile phone while driving

In December 2003, it became a criminal offence for anyone to drive, or to 'cause or permit' someone else to drive, while using a hand-held mobile phone or similar device.

The new regulations also apply to 'anyone who causes or permits any other person' to use a hand-held mobile phone while driving. So employers should consider this when they provide mobile phones and expect staff to answer when driving.

Hands-free phones are not covered by the new Regulations, but drivers could still risk prosecution (for failure to have proper control) if they use a hands-free phone when driving. For example, in an accident, a prosecution for careless or dangerous driving may be justified if a phone was in use at the time of the crash.

Driving includes times when stopped at traffic lights or during other hold-ups that may occur during a journey when a vehicle can be expected to move off after a short while. The only exemption is for calls to 999 (or 112) in genuine emergencies where it is unsafe or impractical to stop.

 

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Resources

→ Download our Risk Assessment Form

→ Download our Risk Assessment - Worked Example

→ Visit our page on Driving at Work

→ Read Driving at Work - Managing Work-related Road Safety (external site)

→ Read The Highway Code online (external link)