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Summary
Why the new interpretation of the
legislation?
Your Business and the LAW
The Penalties for non-compliance
Will this affect my business
Health and Safety Legislation
Organisation
The Benefits of Road Safety
Conclusion
 
 
Members Benefits

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Summary
Introduction  
Driving at work - Managing work
related road safety
What are your responsibilities?
What do you need to know?

Companies can no longer take the risk of ignoring their responsibilities with regard to managing the risks associated with 'driving at work'. Many employers incorrectly assume that compliance with road traffic law requirements is enough to ensure the safety of their employees, and others, when they are on the road.

What is the current legislation?

The Health and Safety at Work Act of 1974 requires employers to ensure, as far as is reasonably practicable, the health and safety of employees while at work.

Under the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1992, amended in 1999, employers have a responsibility to manage health and safety effectively. Employers must carry out an assessment of the risks to the health and safety of their employees while they are at work, and to other people who may be affected by their work activities. This includes work-related driving activities.

Employees driving on company business are considered to be undertaking a work activity and the vehicle they are driving, regardless of ownership, is regarded as a place of work.

The Health and Safety Commission recently issued a series of guidelines covering the employer's responsibility towards the employee. These included the recommendation that every company appoint a director to look after health and safety - including driving at work.

Health and Safety law does not apply to commuting, unless the employee is travelling from their home to a location for business purposes, which is not their usual place of work.

Why is there a spotlight on this issue?
The Government has clearly indicated that it intends to pursue a policy of reducing road traffic accidents and has set tough targets. Research has confirmed that individuals driving on company business are more likely than other road users to be involved in an accident resulting in death or serious injury. Therefore there is an increasing focus by the authorities on work related driving. Existing Health and Safety legislation is now being actively used in a bid to reduce the accident toll. Companies are now almost certain to be investigated by the police and HSE in the wake of a serious road traffic accident.

Donít fall into the trap whereby you feel safe on the grounds that you cannot be expected to know what each and every driver is up to whilst on company business

Employers should have a safety management system for driving at work just as they would for any other work related activity. This should include:

• Comprehensive road safety policies supported by top management.

• Road safety management procedures, including risk assessments for both drivers and specific driving tasks.

• Maintenance and review of accident statistics. Identification of common trends and risks.

• Implementation of safe practices that eradicate or minimise identified driving risks.

• Ensuring managers understand their role and responsibilities for managing road risk and are able to apply company policy.

• Ensuring drivers are given relevant information, training and supervision to be safe on the road.

• Regularly auditing the safety of journeys and amending policies and procedures accordingly if new risks are identified.

Does this include the use of private vehicles?

Ownership of the vehicle is irrelevant. Companies have the same liability for individuals who drive their own vehicles on company business as those who drive company owned fleet vehicles. Simply abandoning the traditional company car in favour of cash for car alternatives does not remove or reduce duty of care.

In some respects the risks associated with the use of privately owned vehicles are greater. This is because the employer has less control over things like maintenance, tyres and suitability of the vehicle for the task.

The following sections look at different parts of the applicable legislation and how it may affect your company and your legal duty to your employees and other road users.

An additional worrying trend is that relatives of employees killed whilst driving on company business are bringing civil cases against the employer

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If they're driving for you, they're your responsibility