Driving for work
As an employer, you are duty-bound by law to ensure employees’ safety using company or own vehicles for work. Driving for work involves risk for drivers and fellow workers, pedestrians, and other road users. Research highlights that over 14,000 road collisions between 2008 and 2011 may have been work-related. These figures include buses, vans and trucks. Also, crashes involving private cars are approximately 9, 427. Driving for work includes any individual who drives on the road as part of their work either in a company car or their vehicle. It is important to note that this is not the same as commuting to work except the individual travels to another work location from home. You should put systems in place to ensure that driving for work activities are road safety compliant. You might not be able to control roadway conditions, but you can promote safe driving behaviour amongst your employees. Here are a few procedures to put in place.
You might not feel the need to conduct additional driving training for your employees, but providing general induction training with set expectations is good practice. This should include
- Always wearing a seatbelt
- Not driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- Not using a hand-held mobile phone whilst driving
If your employees are driving large vehicles such as trucks or vans, drivers must know the vehicle’s dimension, especially height. Other training sessions could involve defensive driving, how to load and unload safely and consideration for other road users. Also, training on how to handle certain situations such as a vehicle breakdown should be included.
Conduct Vehicle Checks
Managers or an external agency should carry out regular visual checks of private vehicles used for work (when they are in the company’s car park). If a vehicle looks unfit for purpose, this may be a sign of poor maintenance or condition. Documents checks should be provided to ensure that drivers are compliant with using their vehicles. The driver should provide MOT, insurance for business use, servicing documents and registration documents. Other checks should include:
- Working brakes
- Clean and working lights and indicator
- Correct oil, coolant and windscreen wash levels
- Working washers and wipers
- Correctly positioned mirrors
- Windows and windscreen should be in a good condition
Roadworthiness and Safety Check
As an employer, you should ensure that work vehicles adhere to road traffic regulations and are safe to be on the road. Ensure all drivers can complete vehicle safety checks and can report identified faults.
Minimum Vehicle Standards Agreement
If employees are using their vehicles for work, agree on conditions on acceptable vehicles for use. If possible, standards set for private vehicles should be equivalent to those for company vehicles. However, it might not be feasible to expect employees who do not receive financial assistance to afford the same standards, although the vehicle must be suitable for use.
Tiredness and Fatigue
Statistics report that around 300 people are killed each year due to drivers falling asleep at the wheel. Similarly, approximately 4 in 10 tiredness related crashes involve a person driving for work. Tired drivers may experience the same impairment as someone at or beyond the legal alcohol limit. Long-distance drivers and shift workers are at a high risk of experiencing fatigue. When planning your employees’ journeys, you should consider the risk of fatigue and tiredness and schedule enough time for drivers to take breaks. Drivers must be educated on the importance of taking breaks from behind the wheel.
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