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Work related driving

31 Oct 2012

Motoring Factsheet No. 2

Corporate bodies need to be aware of the possibility of being held vicariously liable for the activities of their employees. For this reason, it is advisable to have clear policies in place to reduce the risk of incurring liability for employees’ transgressions. Richard Nelson LLP can provide advice in relation to drafting such policies, to reduce their liabilities.

However, policies on there own are not sufficient and employers should look at a whole range of measures to endure that their work force is safe. Health and safety law applies just as much to when an employee is behind the wheel as it does to other work activities, and for this reason the risks should be effectively managed within a health and safety management system.

It is believed that almost a third of all road traffic accidents involve somebody who is working at the time of the accident – accounting for over 20 fatalities and 250 serious injuries every week.

Employers must assess 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 means being aware of the potential dangers that employees may bring to themselves and to others such as pedestrians and other road users.

Evaluate Risk

Among the tasks which employers should be undertaking is an evaluation of the risk that is presented by a particular driver, a particular route, a particular type of cargo and the pressures placed upon the employee by others factors – for example unachievable targets in terms of visits or deliveries.

Amongst the factors which should be considered are:

Is a particular driver competent and capable of doing their work in a way that is safe for them and other people? Do they have relevant experience and has this been checked adequately when they were employed? Does the driving they are asked to do require specific skills or a particular type of licence and have you checked that they have those skills and the appropriate licence? Does that individual know what is expected of them and have they been provided with any additional training that may be necessary?
Have drivers been properly trained and have you undertaken an assessment following that training as to whether they are competent? Do drivers know what the specific risks of their job are and do they know what checks they need to make – for example tyres, the way a load is distributed, what to do if they break down and so forth? Are drivers aware of the height of their vehicle and do they check that it is suitable for the proposed route?
Vehicle Suitability
Are the vehicles used by the company fit for the purpose for which they are used? Are they adequately maintained and where appropriate do they have valid MOT certificates?
Driver fitness/health
Is the company satisfied that all of its drivers are sufficiently fit and healthy so as not to put themselves or others at risk? Have drivers had medical examinations and where these examinations have raised potential risks, have those risks been addressed? Have all drivers had their eyesight checked? Are drivers required to inform you of any medical conditions they may have or any medication they may taking where this could affect their ability to drive safely.

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