Driving at work

Between a quarter and a third of all road traffic collisions involve someone driving as part of their job. If an employee is killed while driving at work and there is evidence of a gross violation of a relevant duty of care by the employer, the organisation could be prosecuted.

The law

Employers have duties under health and safety law for on-the-road work activities. These duties also extend to employees who use their own vehicle to make work related journeys.

Health and safety law does not apply when commuting between home and the usual place of work. However, if you are travelling to work somewhere which is not your normal place of work, health and safety law does apply.

Employers must, as far as possible, make sure that neither employees nor anyone else is put at risk by work related driving activities.

Those who are self employed have the same responsibilities.

Responsibility for work related road safety

If someone is killed while driving for work, and there is evidence of a gross breach of a relevant duty of care by the employer, the organisation could be prosecuted.

The organisation should be committed to managing work related road safety.

Employers should:

  • prioritise and control risks
  • consult with you and provide information
  • make sure relevant departments co-operate with each other on work-related road safety
  • make sure vehicles are inspected and serviced
  • make sure health and safety issues are communicated to employees
  • provide adequate training
  • monitor the performance of the health and safety policy
  • encourage all employees to report all work-related road incidents
  • regularly revisit the health and safety policy
  • make informed decisions about any changes

Driver’s responsibilities include:

  • having the right licences to drive the vehicle
  • checking that the vehicle is roadworthy
  • being aware of the law and requirements under the Highway Code Fitness to drive – tiredness, taking medication or alcohol can impair judgement
  • being aware of the weather conditions when planning journeys
  • keeping your mobile phone switched off and where it cannot distract you when driving

Driving at Work Northern Ireland: an employer’s guide

This guide helps employers and employees understand their duties under health and safety at work law for driving at work. It aims to reduce the numbers of road traffic collisions and injuries and raise safety standards by providing practical guidance for those who drive for work and their managers.

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