HSE rules and facts
This is the heavy stuff taken from the HSE website…..
Work related road safety
Everyone who uses the public highway must comply with road traffic legislation which is managed by the Department for Transport (DfT). This covers things as diverse as requirements for vehicles to be regularly examined for road-worthiness, through to the application of speed limits. However, employers also have some responsibilities to manage the work properly and take proportionate measures to keep workers safe
About work related road safety
Everyone who uses the public highway must comply with road traffic legislation which is managed by the Department for Transport (DfT). This covers aspects as diverse as requirements, for vehicles to be regularly examined for road worthiness through to the application of speed limits. Both the Police and the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (VOSA) maintain a roadside presence and take the lead on the enforcement of this legislation. The Health and Safety Executive supports and works closely with the DfT, the Police, VOSA and other government and industry stakeholders to improve standards on the road.
The Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 requires employers to take appropriate steps to ensure the health and safety of their employees and others who may be affected by their activities when at work. This includes the time when they are driving or riding at work, whether this is in a company or hired vehicle, or in the employee’s own vehicle.
There will always be risks associated with driving. Although these cannot be completely controlled, an employer has a responsibility to take all reasonable steps to manage these risks and do everything reasonably practicable to protect people from harm in the same way as they would in the workplace.
Health and safety law
Health and safety law requires employers and the self-employed to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare of all employees, while they are at work. Employers also have a responsibility to ensure that others are not put at risk by the work activities of their employees.
The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999
The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 require every employer to carry out an assessment of the risks to the health and safety of their employees, or themselves, while they are at work, and to other people who may be affected by their work activities. This includes any driving activity on the road. The regulations require the risk assessment to be reviewed periodically to ensure it remains valid. Employers should consider the risks to employees on the road in the same way as for those in a workplace.
The lists below are practical considerations for employers.
Drivers should be:
- competent and capable of doing their work in a way that is safe for them and others;
- properly trained;
- sufficiently fit and healthy to drive safely and not put themselves and others at risk;
- provided with information that will help them reduce risk (eg recommended tyre pressures);
- provided with appropriate advice on driving posture.
Vehicles should be:
- fit for the purpose for which they are used;
- maintained in a safe condition and fit for the road.
- take account of appropriate routes;
- incorporate realistic work schedules;
- not put drivers at risk from fatigue;
- take sufficient account of adverse weather conditions.
Employers are encouraged to seek the views of their employees, or their representatives, as they will have first-hand experience of what happens in practice.
Managing the risks
While employers cannot exercise the same control over hazards to employees when they are driving or riding on the road as in the workplace, there are practical steps they should take to reduce the risks.
Work-related road safety can only be effectively controlled if it is integrated into arrangements for managing health and safety at work. For example, an employer should take account of the total number of hours worked, and not just the number of hours spent at the wheel, when planning driving schedules.
The risk section of the HSE website contains practical advice on how to carry out a risk assessment and links to helpful free publications.
There are also many business benefits in managing work-related road safety, no matter how large or small your business is. For example:
- fewer days lost due to injury;
- fewer vehicles off the road for repair;
- fewer missed orders;
- reduced need for investigation and follow up.