What is meant by the term 'Driving for Work'?
A. The term relates to the management of the risks which employees and the self-employed face (and which they create for others) when they are on a public highway in the course of their work. In the UK context this excludes commuting, except where employees' at-work journeys start from their home to go to a work location which is not their normal place of work.
A. DfW policy encompasses risks faced by people whose job is driving (LGV, PSV drivers etc) as well as the vast majority of the workforce who have to use or travel in a road vehicle at some point to do their job, including using their own vehicles. It encompasses at-work pedestrians, not just those engaged in activities like road works and vehicle recovery but the vast range of people whose jobs bring them into proximity with moving traffic.
As an employer, what are my legal responsibilities?
A. The Health and Safety at Work etc Act 19742 requires you to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health and safety of all employees while at work. You also have a responsibility to ensure that others are not put at risk by your work-related driving activities. (Self-employed people have a similar responsibility to that of employers.)
Under the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999,3 you have a responsibility to manage health and safety effectively. You need to carry out an assessment of the risks to the health and safety of your employees, while they are at work, and to other people who may be affected by their work activities. The Regulations require you to periodically review your risk assessment so that it remains appropriate.
You are required to consult with your employees, and where applicable, their health and safety representatives, on the health and safety issues covered in this guidance. Health and safety law does not apply to commuting, unless the employee is travelling from their home to a location which is not their usual place of work.
As an employer, can I be prosecuted if one of my staff members is caught talking on a hand held mobile phone while they are driving for work?
A. Yes. Employers can also be prosecuted if they cause or permit employees to take or make calls or send texts while driving.
Our business is developing a occupational road risk strategy for our company drivers. Guidance says a risk assessment should be carried out but should this extend to every vehicle trip? Is it reasonable to ask every driver to fill in a risk assessment pro-forma before each business journey?
In principle some form of assessment should always be carried out, but a written record is not necessary for every journey.
In general employers should carry out an adequate and suitable generic assessment of risks for the various kinds of driving task that are undertaken in their organisation (e.g. delivering goods, travelling to meetings, call-outs, emergency response, vehicle recovery operations, courier delivery etc), looking at safety critical features of: journey task; vehicle; and driver/rider - that are likely to increase the chance of crashes happening.
This kind of evaluation can then be used be used to prioritise areas for possible intervention and control options (e.g. from avoidance of travel through video conferencing for example, and using safer modes through to safer journey design, fit for purpose, properly maintained vehicles, to driver training). If the journey is a regular and predictable one, the line manager and driver(s) can build on the generic assessment and work together, for example, to examine routing and timing issues in more detail and fine tune.
Obviously, employee driving licences need to be validated. How often should this be done?
A. The employer needs to set a frequency in light of their experiences - once a year might be appropriate but it would have to be more frequent if there was reason to suspect that points were being accrued for certain staff members.