In the first of our series of #OSHtober blogs, we take a look at the responsibilities of both employers and employees when it comes to driving for work…
Driving is an essential part of personal, family and work life for millions of us. It can be enjoyable and pleasant, but also stressful and dangerous.
In fact, driving is one of the most dangerous activities that we do. Moreover, driving for work tends to be riskier than driving for private reasons. At-work drivers crash more often, even after their higher mileages are taken into account. They are also more likely to take risks and to be at-fault when they crash.
It is not only at-work drivers and riders who suffer in work-related road crashes. Passengers, pedestrians, cyclists, motorcyclists and people in other vehicles are more often killed or injured in these crashes.
These crashes are not just due to driving skills and attitudes, but also to the nature of the driving that at-work drivers have to do. This may include unsafe schedules and time pressures, or having to respond to messages while driving. Young at-work drivers may find themselves driving vehicles (e.g. vans) which they have little experience of driving.
Your Employer’s Responsibility
“Health and safety law applies to work activities on the road in the same way as it does to all work activities and you need to manage the risks to drivers as part of your health and safety arrangements” (HSE “Driving at Work” Guidelines for employers)
Therefore, your employer needs to ensure that you are legally entitled to drive the vehicle. You also need to be properly trained, competent and fit to drive safely. They need to have systems to ensure that the vehicle is safe, roadworthy and legal. Plus policies and procedures to manage the risks involved in driving for work. They also need to track vehicle use and investigate and learn from accidents and incidents.
As a driver, you must play your part, by ensuring that you are:
- Properly licensed
- Insured to drive for work
- Fit to drive
- Able to plan your journeys safely
- Compliant with road traffic laws when driving.
As an employee, you must understand, and follow, your employer’s driving for work policies and procedures.
Throughout #OSHtober we will be providing you with tips and advice on how to ensure you drive safely for work. You can also keep up to date with all the latest safety news by signing up to SafetyMatters, our free monthly e-newsletter.