Employers responsible for employees ‘Driving at Work’

Date published: 20 January 2015

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Last year saw an increase in deaths on our roads. As part of continuing work to reduce road casualties, Environment Minister Mark H Durkan, together with the Health and Safety Executive and PSNI, today launched ‘Driving at Work Northern Ireland: An Employers’ Guide’.

The guide has been developed jointly by DOE and the Health & Safety Executive for Northern Ireland. It assists employers and employees in understanding their duties under health and safety at work law for driving at work.

It provides practical guidance for those who drive for work and their managers. It includes consideration of the potential consequences for companies who do not comply with their duties, and will be relevant to all businesses, regardless of their size.

Environment Minister, Mark H Durkan said: “Every death on our roads is one too many. The increase in deaths last year is therefore of serious concern to me. It is for this reason that I have urged everyone to make road safety their New Year’s resolution. We all need to ensure that we do all we can to reduce the unnecessary death and suffering caused by road traffic collisions.

“Many casualties may involve people driving at work. Employers are therefore in a unique position to make a significant contribution to reducing the levels of those killed and seriously injured on our roads. This booklet is designed to help them in this work and I believe is an important element of work by my Department and others to address and improve road safety.

“I therefore call on employers to study this booklet. They have duties to protect the health and safety of their employees. They may not fully realise this responsibility with regard to those who drive during their work. By examining and actively managing those driving as part of their job, employers can help minimise the risks to their employees and indeed their business. “

HSENI Chief Executive Keith Morrison added: “HSENI is pleased to work in partnership with the DOE to help raise awareness of this important issue.  Some employers have already taken key messages on board, but I would urge all employers to consider their duties under health and safety law for employees who drive as part of their work activities.  By doing this they will be able to put in place practical measures to help reduce risk on the road - measures that are clearly in everyone’s interest."

Welcoming the launch of the ebooklet, Assistant Chief Constable Alan Todd added: “While road safety will continue to be a priority for police, the sad reality is that many of the most serious road traffic collisions which kill and seriously injure people could have been avoided.

“We must all take personal responsibility for our actions. Slow down. Pay greater attention to your surroundings. Always wear a seatbelt and NEVER drive after drinking or taking drugs. If everyone follows this advice, there will be fewer serious and fatal road traffic collisions and more people live.”

As part of the DOE’s ‘Share the Road to Zero Campaign’, the guide highlights the importance of the implementation of three simple but potentially life-saving management practices – safe driver, safe vehicle, safe journey.

Notes to editors: 

  1. The three main areas of the management of occupational road risk are:  

    safe driver – are your drivers competent and capable of doing their work in a way that is safe for them and other people? 

    safe vehicle – are vehicles fit for the purpose for which they are used? 

    safe journey – do you plan routes thoroughly?

  2. The Health and Safety Executive for Northern Ireland (HSENI) has been working in partnership with the Department of the Environment (DOE) and the Police Service for Northern Ireland to produce a public information guide – ‘Driving at Work Northern Ireland’.  This information is aimed at increasing awareness among employers of their responsibility, to ensure the risks associated with driving at work are considered and actively managed.
  3. A range of research reports indicate that a range between 25 to 33 per cent of road traffic collisions in Britain involve someone driving at work.  A Transport Research Laboratory (TRL) report for DOE 2010-11 concluded it was reasonable to read the British data across to Northern Ireland. 
  4. The PSNI and the Driver & Vehicle Agency (DVA) take the lead on the enforcement of road traffic legislation, working closely with HSENI where management  failures under health and safety at work law may have contributed to the cause of the collisions.

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