Drive home health and safety on the road

By: Fanny Marshall

Date: 29 June 2009

There are some things most people do at one time or another when driving that are illegal.For instance, when was the last time you drove at 34 mph in a 30 zone, or got in the car and drove off without doing up your seatbelt? If caught you risk points on your licence and a fine. A bit inconvenient but unlikely to cost you your job – unless you’ve already got a licence full of penalty points and you rely on driving for your work.  

If you have employees that regularly drive as part of their job (even if it’s just the commute to work), it’s a good idea to remind them of some aspects of the Highway Code they (and you) may have forgotten. There are the obvious ones: don’t drink and drive; don’t exceed the speed limit; don’t use a hand-held mobile, even if it’s to check your text messages and you’re sitting at some traffic lights. But did you know that it is illegal for an employee to smoke in a company vehicle?  

Under health and safety legislation, employers have a duty to ensure the safety and welfare of their employees, and also a responsibility to ensure that others are not put at risk by their work activities. So, help your employees out by having clear company policies and guidelines on driving for work. They could include:

  • eliminating journeys where possible, by teleconferencing, rescheduling deliveries etc
  • ensuring that vehicles are appropriate and effectively maintained
  • ensuring that drivers are appropriate, ie fit to drive, legal (the Department for Transport suggests checking licences every six months), adequately trained (including training in first aid), and aware of the organisation’s policies on mixing driving with drugs, alcohol, illness, stress, fatigue, speed and the use of mobile phones
  • introducing supporting measures (such as emergency planning and incentives for safer driving)

 For other practical tips for drivers visit the Department for Transport’s Driving for Work website www.dft.gov.uk/drivingforwork.

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