Driving at work

Health and safety law applies to work activities on the road in the same way as it does to all work activities.

Introduction

Effective management of work-related road safety helps reduce risk, no matter what size your organisation is. It could also result in:

  • fewer injuries to drivers
  • reduced risk of work-related ill health
  • reduced stress and improved morale

An e-booklet developed jointly by the Department for Infrastructure (DfI) and HSENI outlines a practical approach to managing the risks that employees, who drive as part of their working lives, may face.

The booklet can be accessed from the following link:

The law

The Health and Safety at Work (Northern Ireland) Order 1978 states that you must ensure, so far as reasonably practicable, the health and safety of all employees while at work. You must also ensure that others are not put at risk by your work-related driving activities.  

The self-employed have similar responsibilities. The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2000 (as amended) require you to manage health and safety effectively.  

The Road Traffic Order and the Motor Vehicles (Construction and Use) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 1999 are administered by the Police and other agencies such as the Driver and Vehicle Agency (DVA).   

Reasons to manage driving at work

Health and safety law applies to work activities on the road in the same way as it does to all work activities. Employers need to manage the risks to drivers as part of their health and safety arrangements.

Effective management of work-related road safety helps reduce risk, no matter what size of an organisation it is. Importantly it could also result in:

  • fewer injuries to drivers
  • reduced risk of work-related ill health
  • reduced stress and improved morale

There is also a strong business case for managing work-related road safety. Fewer road incidents mean:

  • less days lost to injury
  • fewer repairs to vehicles
  • fewer missed orders
  • reduced running cost
  • reduced insurance claims and premiums

HSENI therefore wants to achieve:

  • Effective management by employers of the risks from driving for work, working together with their employees.
  • Good partnership working between HSENI and other organisations that are well placed to raise awareness of work related road risk.
  • A sensible and proportionate approach to the issues.

Managing work-related road safety

HSENI encourages a common-sense practical approach.  A four step process - Plan, Do, Check, Act can be applied to work-related road safety.

Plan

Describe how you manage health and safety in your organisation (including assessing risks) and plan to make it happen in practice.

Do

Prioritise and control your risks, consult your employees and provide training and information.

Check

Measure how you are doing.

Act

Review your performance and learn from your experience.

Reporting work-related road traffic incidents to HSENI

The Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations (RIDDOR) (Northern Ireland) 1997 requires road traffic incidents arising from the movement of a vehicle on the road to be reported, only where either the injured person was engaged in, or a person was injured as a result of:

  • exposure to a substance being conveyed by a vehicle
  • vehicle loading and unloading activities but not picking up or dropping off passengers
  • construction, demolition, alteration, repair or maintenance activities on or alongside public roads
  • an accident involving a train

Work-related dangerous occurrences on public highways, relating to exposure to a substance being conveyed by a vehicle, are so too are work-related incidents and dangerous occurrences on private roads.

    Safe driver, safe vehicle, safe journey

    To help you identify the hazards and manage the risk, think about work-related road safety in connection with the three areas of safe driver, safe vehicle and safe journey.

    • Safe driver - ensure your drivers have been properly trained about road safety and that they are fit and healthy
    • Safe vehicle - ensure that all vehicles are maintained in a safe condition and fit for purpose
    • Safe journey - ensure that you plan your route thoroughly and allow sufficient journey time. You should also consider and take account of weather conditions before

    Further information

    Driving and riding safely for work

    Employers or companies who engage drivers and riders must take all reasonable steps to manage risks and do everything reasonably practicable to protect people from harm in the same way as they would in a fixed workplace.

    The Health and Safety Executive (GB) and the Department for Transport have produced guidance for employers and workers and can be found at the the following link:

    Key legislation 

    Please note that these links are to the original legislation, visitors should verify for themselves whether legislation is in force or whether it has been amended or repealed by subsequent legislation.