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Employees Driving for Work, What you need to know

Driving for Work

Driving for work includes any person who drives on a road as part of their employment (not including driving to and from their work) in either:

  • a company vehicle
  • their own vehicle, with mileage reimbursement from their Employer

Why should an Employer be concerned

The rate of road collisions is higher amongst those who drive for work. An RSA/HSA 2007 report found the number of work-related deaths from road collisions was double that from other causes. Studies also show that people who drive company cars have 30% to 40% more collisions than other drivers and this risk increases with mileage driven.

A 2008 HSA survey showed that many Employers aren't sure what their responsibilities are when it comes to managing driving for work.

Types of Driving Jobs

The types of jobs that may involve driving for work are varied. Some Employees may only drive for work occasionally. For other Employees, driving covers the main part of their job—these Employees may include:

  • drivers of heavy goods vehicles (HGV) and light goods vehicles (LGV)
  • bus, coach, and taxi drivers
  • utility company Employees and service engineers
  • sales and marketing staff
  • emergency service workers
  • social and health workers
  • local authority staff
  • couriers and delivery staff
  • law enforcement workers
  • auto mechanics

What the Law Says

Self- Declaration

Did you know –All operators of Heavy Commercial Vehicles (HCVs) are required by law to make an online ‘Self-Declaration’ to the RSA in relation to their Heavy Goods Vehicles, Goods trailers, Buses and Ambulances!

Why should Employers be concerned with driving for work safety?

While drivers are responsible for how they drive, an Employer has duties in helping to make driving for work safer.

Three sets of laws influence driving for work in Ireland:

1. Road Traffic Laws: the Road Traffic Act 1961 and its later amendments influence driving on public roads in Ireland. The Gardai, sometimes in collaboration with the HSA, are responsible for enforcing road traffic laws and investigating collisions and fatalities.

2. Health & Safety Laws: the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act 2005 and associated regulations influence driving for work in Ireland. Other legislation may apply, such as Dangerous Goods Transport by Road and Construction regulations.

An Employer should be aware that directors may be prosecuted for a work-related road collision if it is proven they have not managed safety properly.

An Employer has obligations in the following areas:

    • Duty of care—Employer must take measures to assure that work-related journeys are safe, members of staff are able to drive safely, and all vehicles and associated equipment are fit for use. An Employer should also be aware of their duty towards the safety of other road users and pedestrians affected by their drivers.
    • Safe systems of work—Employer must put in place proper systems of work such as documented safe systems of work for securing vehicle loads. They must have a safety statement that identifies all possible hazards, assesses risks to their Employees, and provides adequate controls to minimise risk.
    • Information, instruction, and training—Employer should give their Employees proper information and training to protect their safety, health, and welfare.
3. EU Rules on Driving say that an Employer must:
    • not expect Employees to drive under conditions that are unsafe; this means drivers must obey the rules on driving time, breaks and rest periods and that their vehicles should be roadworthy and fit for use.
    • never put pressure on a driver to complete a journey in a shorter amount of time than is needed or to use a vehicle that is not roadworthy.
    • not enter into contracts with schedules that could endanger their drivers or other road users.

Notification of road collisions

An Employer should notify the HSA if their Employee has an accident involving:

  • driving or riding a vehicle for their work
  • exposure to a dangerous substance or injury from an article being carried by a vehicle for work
  • road repair or road construction activities, including road work done by others

An Employer should use the Collision Recording Form to report the accident to the HSA.

Start a ‘Driving for work’ programme

Follow these steps to set up your own driving for work programme.

A driving for work programme can benefit business in a number of ways, but its main aim should be to improve safety. Developing a programme will help Employers understand the factors involved in driving for their business and their responsibilities as an Employer.

With a strong policy in place, Employers find it easier to continually assess the risks their Employees face in driving for work and to make recommendations and changes promptly and effectively.

The Driving for Work Checklist should help with starting a programme.

An Employer can set up a driving for work programme for their company by following six simple steps.

Six steps to safe driving for work

1. Structure

Before an Employer begins building their new driving for work programme, it's important to make sure that it will be supported within their company. An Employer should:

  • Appoint a manager
    Appoint a person to take charge of the programme; this may be the Employer if they’re the business owner, or an experienced manager. This person should be clear of their role. They should have enough authority to make sure the policy is put into practice and all Employees understand their responsibilities.
  • Assign support infrastructure
    The manager in charge of the driving for work programme should have help and support from other Employees and departments within the company. It is important that they have cooperation from people like the fleet manager, health and safety officer, and purchasing staff.

2. Evaluate

There are three main factors that the driving for work policy needs to assess:

  • People: each driver should be identified and assessed in terms of competency, training and health.
  • Vehicles: each vehicle's suitability, condition, ergonomic factors, safety equipment and information should be assessed
  • Journeys: each route should be identified and it’s planning, scheduling, timing, distance, and relationship to weather conditions should be assessed.

For complete details about all of these, refer to the Driving for Work Checklist (PDF)

3. Improve

After filling in the Driving for Work Checklist and assessing people, vehicles, and journeys, the Employer should consider what improvements they can make to driving for work as it exists in their business now. Factor these changes into their new driving for work programme. Aim, above all, to improve safety.

4. Record

Driving for work programme should be written down so the Employer can share it with relevant managers and other Employees. They should keep detailed records of the assessment and recommended changes, along with records of accidents and incidents, which they can document using the Collision Recording Form (PDF). Employees should be encouraged to check and record the conditions of their vehicles using the Daily Work-Related Road Vehicle Checklist form (PDF).

5. Implement

Employer should communicate any recommended changes to relevant managers and Employees before they implement them.

6. Review and Measure

Employer should regularly schedule risk assessments and evaluate the effectiveness of the existing programme. Follow the 6-step process with each assessment, factoring in changes (such as new staff, routes, or vehicles or changes to circumstance).

Benefits

Businesses, Employees, and the community all benefit from driving for work safety.

Below are just some of the advantages a well-managed driving for work programme can produce.

Your business

  • increased Employee loyalty and enhanced public image by showing commitment to Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)
  • compliance with the to the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act and the Rules of the Road
  • reduced likelihood of Employee injury or death and subsequent sickness and dependency costs
  • increased productivity
  • savings on fuel, maintenance and repair costs by improving travel planning and driving
  • avoidance of insurance increases
  • improvement of business's legal defence if a claim is made against it

Your Employees

  • increased safety
  • enhanced training
  • better insight into the company

The community

  • increased safety for road users (drivers, cyclists and pedestrians)
  •  increased safety for public and private property
  • better connection to business

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