A driving for work policy is a valuable resource for your drivers which sets out clearly what you expect from your drivers, and what they can expect from you. When an employee drives during working hours, their vehicle becomes an extension of the workplace, so a company driver safety policy is a great way to improve driver safety and adhere to driving for work laws.

What is a driving for work policy?

The overall purpose of a driving for work policy is to offer guidance to employees who drive during working hours. Driving for work doesn’t just mean vocational drivers – it covers anyone making a work-related journey during working hours, whether it’s a short drive to a client meeting, or travelling to and from events. Even if the journey doesn’t take place in a company vehicle, and irrespective of the length of the journey, employers still have duties and obligations to protect and monitor all employees who drive. A safe driving policy template can be used to ensure you are meeting these obligations.

The Health and Safety Executive states that driving for work is one of the most dangerous tasks that many employees will do. In fact, estimations show that up to 1/3 of all road traffic incidents involve an individual who is deemed to have been driving for work at the time – this corresponds to over 35,000 injury collisions every year in Great Britain alone.

The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 sets out that employers have a ‘duty of care’ towards employees, and this law is enforced by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). Failure to comply with driving for work laws can result in prosecution, particularly if a road traffic incident occurs; punishments can range from fines to imprisonment. Therefore, is pivotal that employers adhere to requirements and their duty of care to their employees in order to minimise the risk of driving at work.

Other key laws and regulations regarding driving for work include:

  • The Road Traffic Act 1988, requiring employers and employees to have a comprehensive understanding of the Highway Code, as well as all necessary certifications to drive.
  • The Workplace Health, Safety and Welfare Regulations 1992, which deals with collaboration between employers and employees to ensure that all journeys conducted at work are safe.
  • The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999, making it essential that risk assessments are carried out in the workplace – this includes risk assessments for driving at work.

Failure to comply with any of these laws can result in serious consequences for employees and employers.

There are various methods that employers can use to ensure obligations regarding driver safety and driving for work laws are met, including the provision of driver training, frequent vehicle maintenance, licence checks, and using a driving for work risk assessment example to build your driving for work policy.

What should a driving for work policy include?

Driving for work policies should be take a holistic approach to driver safety, considering all aspects of driver wellbeing, fitness to drive, the vehicle, the journey, and the responsibilities of both employees and managers. The Driving for Better Business Driving for Work Policy Template is an excellent resource which offers employers a detailed, structured framework that can be used to develop a company’s own driving for work policy simply and effectively.

Driving for work policies should open with a policy statement, detailing the purpose and intent of the policy, describing the commitment of the employer to ensuring high standards of driver safety. A driving for work policy statement should introduce an overview of the risk management procedures that will follow, as well as acknowledge the employer’s duty of care and responsibility to adhere to the principles of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999, amongst other laws regarding road traffic safety and workplace regulations. It should also highlight the fact that employees driving for work are obligated to comply with the driving for work policy, as well as the wider UK Highway Code – this is a good point at which to detail the consequences of non-compliance by drivers, including potential disciplinary action and termination of employment.

The policy should then begin to set out the responsibilities for all drivers (employees) and the employer themselves according to the employer’s own rules and regulations as well as those set out in UK law.

Driving licence checks are an essential task for all fleet managers. Under the Road Traffic Act 1988, it is both an offence for a driver to drive without a valid licence and for an organisation or individual to permit a do so. Therefore, a driving for work policy should state the employer’s policy regarding licence checks – including how often they will be carried out and what employees must do in the event of receiving any driving endorsements, prosecutions, or limitations to their licence. This will help to make sure that the employer’s responsibilities under the Road Traffic Act 1988 are adhered to, and that any insurance policies in place are kept up to date with employee driving licence information.

An employer is also responsible for confirming that employees are competent to drive and provided with the necessary training and skills to drive safely, to avoid posing a risk to themselves and other road users. The employer’s training policy, regarding initial, additional and refresher training can be laid out in a driving for work policy. Driver training plays an essential role in an employer’s safe driving programme, and a driving for work policy should reflect this.

An employee’s fitness to drive also plays an enormous role in the mitigation of road risk, and employers have a responsibility to make sure that employees are fit to drive. Fitness to drive is an umbrella term which spans a range of factors which impact driver safety. These might include:

  • Eyesight – employees driving for work must satisfy minimum eyesight requirements.
  • Fatigue – fatigue is the cause of 1 in 5 collisions, as lack of sleep can impair driving performance to a significant extent, so UK legislation limits the number of hours an employee can spend driving and working in one day. A driving for work policy should lay out the employer’s policy on how often breaks should be taken by drivers.
  • Medical conditions – a driving for work policy should set out how, and to who, an employee can report any new condition or change in their health. Particular attention should be paid to Notifiable Conditions as designated by the DVLA.
  • Impairment, alcohol and drugs – driving under the influence of drink or drugs is incredibly dangerous, and punishable by law. A driving for work policy should remind employees of this, and lay out potential disciplinary consequences. It may help be useful to notify employees that the effects of alcohol and drugs taken prior to work may carry over into working hours. Medications and prescription medicines can also cause impairment, so the policy should explain how these risks will be mitigated.
  • Wellbeing: mental health issues, financial worries, and relationship or family problems are amongst the issues which can affect driver decision-making and cause driver distraction. Driving for work policies should treat driver wellbeing as a key aspect of an employee’s fitness to drive. The Driving for Better Business programme offers advice, ideas and resources for driver wellbeing interventions.

A driving for work policy should reference all of these factors to protect both the safety of employees driving at work and the employer themselves under UK law.

The next important section of a driving for work policy should deal with the vehicle itself. Whether an employee drives a company or grey fleet vehicle, the employer has a responsibility to ensure the employee’s vehicle, as an extension of the workplace, is safe and roadworthy. This can be done through a rigid driving for work policy, which might include the employer’s policies on vehicle roadworthiness, safe loads, vehicle cleanliness standards, vehicle security, and towing. The policy should also inform employees about the employer’s stance on the use of company vehicles outside of working hours, as well as how employees can report any issues with their vehicles.

Finally, a driving for work policy should present an employer’s expectations, regulations and responsibilities in terms of the journey itself. Here, the policy may refer to journey planning, safe speeds, seatbelts, driver distraction and mobile phone use. Setting out what drivers should do in the event of adverse weather conditions, as well as the employer’s policy on passengers being in the car during work journeys can help to avoid any confusion amongst employees and reduce road risk. It is also paramount that the policy tells employees what to do in the event of a collision, breakdown, puncture or other damage to the vehicle.

It is essential that driving for work policies are regularly reviewed and updated as necessary – it is recommendable for this to be done on an annual basis, or sooner if appropriate subject to changing circumstances or law. The policy document should state the date on which it was last formally reviewed and the member of staff who has signed it off, as well as a timescale for its next review.

What should be included in a driving at work risk assessment?

 The UK Health and Safety Executive (HSE) states that as part of an employer’s health and safety arrangements, a risk assessment must be carried out. According to the HSE, ‘health and safety law applies to work activities on the road in the same way as it does on a fixed site’. With this in mind, and considering the potential dangers of driving for work, a risk assessment is a crucial part of an employer’s strategy for reducing road risk.

A driving for work risk assessment should cover the main areas of the journey itself, the driver, and the vehicle – whether it is a company-owned vehicle or grey fleet. It is important to consider the hazards which can cause risk to the driver and to other road users – including other passengers and pedestrians. These include:

Risk assessments are working documents. As circumstances, laws and regulations change, so will the risks that drivers face. Therefore, a driving at work risk assessment needs to be reviewed and adjusted. The UK HSE recommends that this is done annually.

It is important for employers to record and update information regarding driver risk to prove that they are fulfilling their duty of care to employees who drive for work, as laid out by the UK Health and Safety Executive. In the event of a road traffic incident involving an employee driving for work, having a documented and up-to-date driving at work risk assessment and a driving for work policy can help to demonstrate that the employer has taken all steps that are reasonably practicable to protect employees and other road users, and reduce road risk as far as possible.

 What is the employee policy for driving company vehicles?

If an employee is driving during company time, the vehicle is considered an extension of the workplace and therefore full workplace health and safety regulations apply under UK law. An employer should have a detailed driving for work policy in place for any employee who drives a company vehicle, as well as those using their own private vehicle or grey fleet – there are still legal obligations and regulations for both employees and employers.

Policies detailing the use of company vehicles can be included in a company vehicle policy pdf as part of your driving for work policy. This is an immensely important and valuable way of documenting company policies regarding driving for work, including the expectations of employees who drive and the duties of the employer in protecting them.

The Driving for Better Business Driving for Work Policy Template offers an excellent driving for work policy example which can be tailored to the specific circumstances of any employer, and prove that all duties and obligations under HSE driving at work laws and UK Health and Safety laws are being fulfilled.

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