The UK health and safety legislation regarding driving at work requires employers to conduct a risk assessment to identify possible risks and hazards. Risk assessments must be recorded and updated regularly to ensure all risks are accounted for and subsequently protected against. As an employer, it is essential to conduct training into risk assessments to ensure all employees understand the risks and their control measures whilst driving at work.
What are the essential steps which must be conducted during a driving at work risk assessment?
The natural sequence of a risk assessment is the following:
- Identify hazards
- Decide who these hazards will affect
- Evaluate the risk which is associated with the hazard
- Record the findings from this risk assessment
- Review the risk assessment regularly
A driving at work risk assessment follows the above sequence and is focussed upon the hazards and risks which are associated with driving at work only. Driving at work risk assessments analyse the journey, the driver and the vehicle involved.
Initially, the journeys to be undertaken must be analysed for risks. This needs to account for all types of journeys:
- Long distance journeys
- Overseas journeys
- The transport of a large number of company goods or more employees
- Journeys which will be taken during severe weather conditions
- Journeys which might enter areas which hold potential dangers
Once the employer has ensured all vehicles are appropriate for use on the roads and have had full checks, including a full MOT certificate, it is then the employee's responsibility to ensure the vehicle is fit for use on the day of the journey.
The Road Traffic Act states that the driver is responsible for checking the following on the vehicle before it is used:
- Hand and Foot Brakes are working properly
- Screen wash and wipers are working properly
- Lights and hazard lights are working properly
- Mirrors are all in the correct position
- The wheel horn is working properly
- Seat belts are all working properly
As an employer you essentially need to conduct a risk assessment of the driver. Ensuring they have all of their appropriate driving licenses is the first step. You then need to make a qualified and careful assessment that the driver is healthy enough to drive, physically and mentally.
The Road Traffic Act states that a risk assessment for driving at work must be conducted, and it is the police who will ensure that the Road Traffic Act is enforced. If a risk assessment is not conducted, and an employee or another road user is subsequently hurt due to a road traffic accident, it will be the police who are responsible for enforcing the repercussions.
As an employer it is your responsibility to ensure the driving at work risk assessment is conducted efficiently and is regularly updated to ensure all of those who are involved in driving at work are protected. Training of risk assessments and the Road Traffic Act is therefore essential for both employers and employees.