Any work-related journey during working hours is classed as driving for work. That doesn’t just mean delivery drivers and couriers – it includes employees driving to meetings and appointments, running errands, and driving to events. So, it’s really important to manage the risks involved for all of your employees who drive for work – this means having a driving for work policy in place, and following a driving for work risk assessment best practice example to make sure your organisation is fulfilling its legal responsibilities and duty of care.

What is an example of a driving risk?

Driving for work is one of the most dangerous activities your employees will do. The UK Health and Safety Executive (HSE) list a range of work-related driving hazards, including:

  • Roadworks, traffic and congestion
  • Vehicle condition
  • Fatigue and driver distraction
  • Time and scheduling pressure
  • Weather conditions
  • Behaviour of other road users

As an employer, it is your legal responsibility to manage the risk presented by these hazards and take all reasonably practicable steps to ensure your employees who drive for work are safe.

This includes carrying out a full driving for work risk assessment, providing suitable training for drivers, and having a detailed and up-to-date driving for work policy. Risk profiling is also commonly used in the driver recruitment process to help organisations choose safer drivers.

What is a risk that could take place if you are driving for work?

Driving is an inherently dangerous activity, so anyone who drives for work will face a number of risks on the road. In fact, nearly a third of all road fatalities occur in incidents involving someone who was driving for work.

Under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, employers must take suitable steps to protect the health and safety of their employees and others who might be affected by their actions while at work. These obligations extend out onto the road. As an employer, you need to be aware of the risks involved so you can manage them effectively.

Vehicles need to be regularly checked and maintained to avoid the risks of an unroadworthy vehicle and the danger that might pose to your employees and other road users. There are certain checks that should be carried out before every journey, and others that need to be done regularly, as detailed in the vehicle handbook.

Fitness to drive is also a really important topic when considering driving for work risks. This is a holistic term which covers driver fatigue, drink and drug driving, health conditions, driver eyesight and vision, mental health and physical fitness. Any of these can impact driver safety and the safety of other road users. Do your employees know that their prescription drugs may affect their ability to drive safely? Do they know who they can talk to about any mental health or wellbeing issues they are facing? An employee who is unfit to drive increases road risk – make sure your organisation has the necessary protections in place and a culture that allows drivers to express any concerns they may have.

Weather conditions can also be a major road risk – your organisation should have policies in place and advice for employees regarding what they should do in the event of adverse weather conditions.

What is risk assessment in driving? 

A driving for work risk assessment identifies hazards involved for employees who drive, and assesses the level of risk they pose.

The HSE lays out five principles of risk assessment:

  • Identify the hazards
  • Decide who can be harmed and how
  • Evaluate the risks
  • Record your findings
  • Review the risk assessment

In the event of a serious incident, your organisation could be asked to prove that you have taken sufficient and suitable steps to manage road risk for employees who drive for work. By having work-related driving control measures in place, including a driving for work risk assessment, you can be confident that your organisation is complying with its legal obligations – and making sure that your employees get home safe, healthy and happy to their families.

How many hours can you drive in a day?

The GB domestic drivers’ hours rules state that anyone driving a goods vehicle must not drive for more than 10 hours in a day. There is a duty time limit of 11 hours, which includes activities relating to the vehicle but not necessarily driving it, such as loading a van or cleaning a car.

There are exemptions for emergencies and certain professions, and specific rules for those who drive HGVs, buses and coaches.

If any of your employees drive for work, you have a legal obligation to manage the risks involved. There are a range of helpful resources available online, including this Driving for Work Policy template which is a fundamental element of any driving for work risk management strategy.



Simon Turner, Campaign Manager, Driving for Better Business Programme

Simon Turner
Campaign Manager
Driving for Better Business

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