Driving. Something that most of us do on a regular basis, whether for personal use, commuting or as a job. But as an activity, it can be considered one of the riskiest that humans carry out.
Road safety is a big focus in the UK, yet recent provisional figures from a European Transport Safety Council report suggest that road deaths in the UK in 2019 were higher than in 2010. Indicating that progress in improving road safety has stalled over the last 9 years.
This is concerning if you employ people to drive for work and highlights the importance of reducing risk factors wherever possible.
All employers have a duty of care under the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 to ensure the health, safety and welfare of their employees. And The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999, regulation 3 requires employers to make a suitable and sufficient assessment of the risks to the health and safety of their employees to which they are exposed whilst they are at work. Of which driving will be a significant one.
What are the risks associated with driving?
According to PACTS 2018 figures there were 1,837 road deaths. That is 5 people every day. And figures show that 30% of these were work related.
To put this figure into context, consider that there were 1,840 deaths in total from the following in 2018:
6 Tube/tram related deaths (Source: Rail Safety & Office of Road and Rail)
21 Aviation deaths (Source: Department for Transport)
34 rail deaths (Source: Network Rail)
243 water deaths (Source: National Water Safety)
726 homeless deaths (Source: ONS)
810 homicide deaths (Source: ONS, PSNI, Gov.scot)
Road deaths accounted for almost half of accidental deaths in 2018 which really does highlight the risks associated with driving.
Do we downplay the risks associate with driving because driving is something that we do so regularly?
As a business it is vital that you are aware of the level of risk associated with driving and the ways in which you can reduce risk to both your drivers and your business.
Risks to consider when carrying out driver risk assessments
It has been proven that driving for work is one of the most dangerous tasks any employer can ask an employee to do.
So, if you are an employer who employs people to drive for a living you must take a serious, considered approach to both risk management and health and safety. And ensure that the workplace culture reflects and supports this. Not only to meet your obligations under legislation such as the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974, but to protect your business and employees as well.
This guide from the HSE provides a good overview of how to carry out a risk assessment relating to vehicles in the workplace.
When carrying out driver risk assessments there are many risks to consider.
Are your drivers authorised to drive?
Do they have a driver’s licence? Do they hold the correct licence for the vehicle to be driven? Are they insured to drive? Is their vehicle roadworthy?
As an employer you must keep on top of these requirements and keep adequate records to show you have made the right checks to minimise risk. You must treat all drivers the same – whether they drive a company vehicle or a private vehicle (also known as a grey fleet)
Do drivers understand the road rules and penalties for breaking these rules?
Do they understand rules around drink and drug driving, speeding, mobile phone use and health and medical conditions for example?
Studies have shown that when asked basic questions, the majority of drivers and employers in the UK, do not actually know the driving legislation or the penalties they could incur for committing a driving violation (whether this is done knowingly or unknowingly).
If this is true of your business this is a significant risk. Not understanding the road rules and legislation can lead drivers to engage in behaviours which create road risk. And if road safety is not promoted by your business, you could be held liable or even prosecuted in the event of an accident.
Are drivers aware of any driving hour restrictions which apply to journeys? Are driving hours adhered to and tracked as they should be? Does your workplace culture enable drivers to drive in a safe manner (e.g. targets and schedules are not so demanding that drivers need to take risks and break road rules to meet them?)
Have you carried out sufficient driver training?
Do you have policies and procedures in place to cover road risks and driver risks? What is your speeding policy and your mobile phone use policy? Do drivers know what to do in the event of a breakdown and who to contact? How about what to do in the event of an accident. We also recently blogged about workplace culture. These are all things that as an employer you need to consider.
But having policies and procedures in place is not enough. You must train your drivers thoroughly and regularly on these policies.
At Anthony Jones we work in partnership with DAC Beachcroft to help you put the right focus on health and safety within your business. Together we have created a motor safety guide which explains basics relating to driving legislation and penalties. It also provides details on ‘Resilience’, DAC Beachcroft’s driver and fleet safety solution, which encourages the implementation of proactive measures to improve driver and fleet safety. If you have any questions about risk management or fleet insurance, then get in touch with us at Anthony Jones on 020 8290 9099 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org