What are the Risks involved in Driving at Work?
Risks and hazards can occur within the workplace at any time, especially whilst employees are driving at work. To identify these risks and protect your employees against them, risk assessments for driving at work are essential. They should include assessing the driver, the vehicle and the route which the driving will take. Where risks occur, they must be sufficiently protected against using control measures. If this does not happen, the organisation or employee responsible could face prosecution from the police as they deal with incidents which occur on the roads in the UK. To ensure you identify all possible risks whilst driving at work and effectively protect your employees from these risks, training in driving at work policy must be conducted.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) in the UK are the active body working to ensure UK health and safety legislation in the workplace is enforced. The HSE are particularly concerned with ensuring driving at work policy in the UK is complied with, and this includes conducting a risk assessment to identify all the risks present during a driving at work journey.
How could an employer or employee identify risks whilst driving at work?
The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 make it a legal requirement for the employer to conduct a risk assessment for driving at work, and the following steps could be included in this risk assessment:
Analyse the Driver:
- Does the driver have the correct level of expertise in order to drive in the UK?
- Does the driver have the correct UK certification to drive?
- Is the driver fit and healthy, physically and mentally?
- Is the driver capable of carrying out safety checks on the car, such as checking the seatbelts all work correctly before every journey?
- Ensure that the driver is aware that they must not drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
Analyse the Vehicle:
- Does your vehicle have safety devices such as reversing alarms and proximity censors?
- Are individuals safe whilst being in the vehicle - for example, have you checked that all of the airbags are fitted and work correctly?
- Is the vehicle safe to carry and transport goods if necessary?
- Have you ensured that the tyres are inspected regularly?
Analyse the Driving at Work Journey:
- Have you planned the safest route possible?
- Have you taken into consideration changes in the weather - for example, snow and ice?
- Has your route taken into account restrictions, such as bridges or tunnels?
- Have you considered whether the journey could incorporate use of public transport in order to decrease the amount of time the employee is driving for?
How can an organisation protect against these risks whilst driving at work?
1) Ensure that you as an employer organise employees' journeys on the road. This way, you can ensure that they are taking the most suitable, effective and safe routes across the roads as possible.
2) Ensure that vehicle maintenance occurs regularly. Always check and maintain the vehicles which you are using for driving at work. This includes regular M.O.T.s and general procedural checks before the car goes onto the road, such as checking the seatbelts work, checking the tyres of the car are pumped up and there are no punctures, and ensuring window screen washing fluid is full.
3) Conduct driver training. This would include analysing whether employees are still fit to drive. This should be done regularly so that you can analyse whether an employee's ability to drive has deteriorated.
4) Check on the health and well-being of those employees who are driving at work. Do not allow an employee to drive at work if they are showing signs of illness, drowsiness for example, because this could hinder their ability to drive properly.
5) Ensure that all employees report road traffic incidents to your management team, or report any minor incidents which have occurred on the road so you can analyse why this has happened and plan on ensuring it does not happen again.
To ensure risk assessments for driving at work are conducted properly and effectively, education and training for this must take place.