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Driving at Work

By: Ross Wigham - Updated: 12 Aug 2018 | comments*Discuss
 
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Many people need to drive a vehicle as part of their job and despite the increasing focus on safety it's still one of the most dangerous things you can do at work.

The Heath and Safety Executive (HSE) estimates that a third of all traffic accidents in the UK involve someone who was working at the time. It is believed that working drivers may also account for as many as 20 fatalities and 250 serious injuries every week.

Health and Safety Law applies even when you are driving on the road, while you also have some serious responsibilities to your employer, other road users and the general public.

Excessive driving at work can also have a negative impact on your own health, so you must be sure that you are comfortable with the working practices at your own company.

Safety at Work

Safety should be the foremost consideration for any type or driving whether it's for a Heavy Goods Vehicle (HGV) or for the occasional use of a company pool car.

All types of workers from sales staff to delivery workers can be called on to drive at some time, but regardless of how often you may drive at work the focus should always be on safety.

If your company employs more than five people there should be a published driving policy and risk assessment for staff. This should cover all the hazards faced by company drivers, the level of risk and details of the procedures for minimizing the chances of accidents happening.

The overall health and safety policy should also contain some instructions for drivers on how to stay safe and minimise the risks you may face. There may even be training or specific guidance for regular drivers.

Drivers of goods vehicles are often required to take medical tests before staring the job, while most lorry drivers are restricted by law on the number of hours they can work and the breaks they must take.

You should also make sure that your employer:

  • Conducts risk assessments.
  • Maintains and inspects the vehicle.
  • Provides a realistic schedule of journey times.
  • Consults with you about health and safety.

Other safety issues will be left up to you and it is taken for granted that you will obey all the usual traffic rules and the Highway Code. You should also be aware of the dimensions and controls of the vehicle you will use for work - this can often be very different from your own car.

Fitness and Health

This is another key area for company drivers and you must think carefully about your own fitness to drive a vehicle and how you can protect yourself from any potential health risks.

Your employer should provide some advice about posture, seating and headrest positions as well as details on general driving comfort. Long periods of driving can cause Back Pain so you should always take regular breaks.

Fatigue and tiredness can be extremely dangerous and you should never continue driving if you feel drowsy.

You should also have regular eye tests to make sure your vision is good enough to drive on the roads. If you are taking any form of medication, make sure that it will not impair your driving or cause drowsiness.

You could face losing your licence or even imprisonment if you choose to drive under the influence of alcohol. The police have the right to test you, even if you are not involved in an accident and it can take as long as 12 hours after consuming alcohol to be fit to drive.

Accidents

If you are unfortunate enough to be involved in an accident you should always follow the correct rules for reporting it.

As well as the usual formalities your company may require you to follow a certain procedure.

Mobile Phones

It is now illegal to use a hand held mobile phone while driving, and your employer can also be found liable if you are caught during working hours.

You are allowed to make calls using a hands-free kit, although some research suggests this can still be distracting for drivers.

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[Add a Comment]
Keymaw - Your Question:
I have been trained to drive 71/2 tonn events bus for workout I feel as if the vehicle is too big and heavy for me and that I have a killing machine in my hands. Can my boss make me drive this, it’s not part of my work remit or contract.

Our Response:
What does your contract say?
SafeWorkers - 14-Aug-18 @ 10:39 AM
Unsuredriver - Your Question:
I work for a delivery company and on many occasions I am sent out overloaded. I approached my supervisor the other day and said to him I'm well over weight. His response was if you get pulled by the police or vosa then the company pays the fine. Now I don't think he is right in still sending me out knowing I'm overloaded. Not just for the fine but my safety and other drivers. I'm Relatively new in the job and don't want to start refusing to take the van if overloaded. So I'm asking for some advice from experienced drivers who can give me a good reason to refuse without losing my job

Our Response:
SafeWorkers - 13-Aug-18 @ 12:04 PM
I work for a delivery company and on many occasions I am sent out overloaded . I approached my supervisor the other day and said to him I'm well over weight . His response was if you get pulled by the police or vosa then the company pays the fine. Now I don't think he is right in still sending me out knowing I'm overloaded. Not just for the fine but my safety and other drivers. I'm Relatively new in the job and don't want to start refusing to take the van if overloaded. So I'm asking for some advice from experienced drivers who can give me a good reason to refuse without losing my job
Unsuredriver - 12-Aug-18 @ 11:14 AM
I have been trained to drive 71/2 tonn events bus for workout I feel as if the vehicle is too big and heavy for me and that I have a killing machine in my hands.Can my boss make me drive this, it’s not part of my work remit or contract.
Keymaw - 10-Aug-18 @ 10:59 PM
I drive a van with a oven in the back cooking dinner ... meals on wheels ... most day we don’t have air conditioning if we open the window the temperature drops on the oven
Yve - 13-Jul-18 @ 3:15 PM
I drive a company van, im driving around 6hrs a day to and from different jobs around the country. I have asthma, and in this heat my van is like a sauna- reads 35degres, I obviously have windows down...allowing pollen, fumes from cars etc in which doesnt help. I have to keep.pulling over as feel.like il have asthma attack, feel.sick and trembling...should my work help me get air conditioning due to my asthma? As health risk? Thank you
Kb - 7-Jul-18 @ 7:50 PM
husky440 - Your Question:
I drive and get a job where I am told it will take x amount of hours to deliver half hour drop off and x amount back however am I entitled to be paid if I am stuck in traffic ect. which could be hours and also if im told to wait at the drop off point incase something else comes in without pay

Our Response:
This will depend on the terms of your contract. Discuss these questions with your employer and if you feel your employer is not being reasonable or is not paying you what you feel you should receive, raise a grievance.
SafeWorkers - 4-Jul-18 @ 1:01 PM
i drive and get a job where i am told it will take x amount of hours to deliver half hour drop off andx amount back however am i entitled to be paid if i am stuck in traffic ect. which could be hours and also if im told to wait at the drop off point incase something else comes in without pay
husky440 - 3-Jul-18 @ 4:10 PM
Hi my boyfriend is driving for a well known company in a truck in 30c heat with no air conditioning that they won't fix. What are his rights please.
Bec - 26-Jun-18 @ 7:11 PM
Birdy - Your Question:
I drive a 44 tonne lorry and the other night I was being sick at work with food poisioning and felt in no fit health to drive the vehicle back as I was in a really bad way but after a phone call to the night surperviser he said I had to drive back no matter what surely I had the right to refuse without getting in trouble? Then they still rushed me back into work 24 hours later and tbh im quite furious about all this

Our Response:
Are you in a union? Talk to your rep first of all. If not, ACAS can also advise.If you feel your employer is asking you to do something dangerous or that you consider is breaking the law you can of course report this and in theory you won't be dismissed as it's "whistle blowing". The problem is the law isn't very specific and only demands that appropriate risk assessments have taken place etc.
SafeWorkers - 15-Jun-18 @ 10:38 AM
I drive a 44 tonne lorry and the other night i was being sick at work with food poisioning and felt in no fit health to drive the vehicle back as i was in a really bad way but after a phone call to the night surperviser he said i had to drive back no matter what surely i had the right to refuse without getting in trouble? Then they still rushed me back into work 24 hours later and tbh im quite furious about all this
Birdy - 14-Jun-18 @ 7:06 AM
If a lorry driver states there're to tired to drive, can their employee over ride this & make them work the rest of their shift?
Zoe - 5-Jun-18 @ 3:48 PM
I work as a hgv driver with a drivers mate . Fully employed. My drivers mate has phoned in sick so I’ve been told that I have to go unpaid home or use a holiday ? They say that’s the only option but I’ve already turned up for work and have traveled to work etc What’s the best advice as I don’t have spare holidays and can’t afford to go home unpaid
None - 1-Jun-18 @ 8:22 AM
Is it legal to allow a bus driver to work in over 30 degrees of heat without air con?
Moomoo - 7-May-18 @ 4:55 PM
Hi, I've just started a driving job at regatta Garden furniture I've been here for three weeks, the Luton van they have me driving is I think unroadworthy, the box wobbles and was in an accident a few years ago apparently,the other drivers there all moan but say nothing and drive it anyway, I think this is because they are scared to say. I'm not but I feel having only just started, if I say they could just sack me. Any advice would be greatly appreciated, I'm also training to be a driving instructor and don't want jeopardise my future. Thank you.
Amma - 28-Mar-18 @ 7:49 PM
I work contracted 52 hours per week which is 10 hours per day my employee says fit extra calls in I have to do more daily hours which I do not want to do as I do enough hour's tI've worked her for nearly 1 year he says he will replace me what rights do I have and what to say to.them thanks
Van - 22-Jan-18 @ 11:07 AM
Theangrybeard - Your Question:
I am being sent for an 8 hour training day with colleague to a venue which requires an overnight stay. We'll need to be up at 7 to leave hotel to Arrive at 8 to start. The training day will be physically and mentally exhausting and then I have been told we have to make the at least 5 hour return journey in the dark in rush hour traffic to return home. I have raised concerns but have been told it's achievable in a 12 hour day. What legislation can I use to challenge This?

Our Response:
There is no specific legislation thatwould cover this really. Is this regular occurrence or a one off? Are you able to share the driving?
SafeWorkers - 13-Dec-17 @ 3:37 PM
I am being sent for an 8 hour training day with colleague to a venue which requires an overnight stay. We'll need to be up at 7 to leave hotel to Arrive at 8 to start. The training day will be physically and mentally exhausting and then I have been told we have to make the at least 5 hour return journey in the dark in rush hour traffic to return home. I have raised concerns but have been told it's achievable in a 12 hour day... What legislation can I use to challenge This?
Theangrybeard - 13-Dec-17 @ 10:54 AM
Hendy - Your Question:
I drive a 44 ton lorry a lot of my time is loading and unload I work 39 hours a week plus 9 hours overtime is that all the overtime iam allowed to work in a week

Our Response:
This depends on your contract and how much of your time is spent driving. Here are the EU rules on driver's hours
SafeWorkers - 28-Nov-17 @ 2:48 PM
I drive a 44 ton lorry a lot of my time is loading and unload I work 39 hours a week plus 9 hours overtime is that all the overtime iam allowed to work in a week
Hendy - 27-Nov-17 @ 3:18 PM
Kaz - Your Question:
My husband is a sign fitter traveling to jobs all over the uk.He is employed question is after traveling 2 hours to a job then working ten hours on site he booked digs as was to tired to drive home his employer is refusing to pay for the overnight stay.They are saying that he could have made the 2 hour journey home this would have made it a 14 hour working day.is this legal

Our Response:
We don't know how many days he works and what kind of breaks there are between shifts so it's very difficult to comment on this.There is no maximum working day - the broad guide is that you cannot work more than 48 hours a weekbut this can be the average over a 17 week period.
SafeWorkers - 10-Oct-17 @ 2:19 PM
My husband is a sign fitter traveling to jobs all over the uk. He is employed question is after traveling 2 hours to a job then working ten hours on site he booked digs as was to tired to drive home his employer is refusing to pay for the overnight stay. They are saying that he could have made the 2 hour journey home this would have made it a 14 hour working day .is this legal
Kaz - 9-Oct-17 @ 12:01 PM
Is it illegal for employer to ask you to drive a lorry without a headrest for driver and/or passenger?
Sam - 24-Aug-17 @ 8:23 PM
Hi I just want to know my emplyer doesn't give me my contracted hrs each week i am a class 2 driver i start at 5am till 130pm some weeks i get 5 days and some 4 days what can i do
Loz - 26-Jul-17 @ 8:42 PM
hi safety workscan you email me any documents about having 4 people in hgv , so can shoe my boss many thanks tommy...
tommy - 5-Jul-17 @ 8:37 PM
tommy - Your Question:
Can any1 shed some light my transport manager want me to carry 4 pepole in my hgv it only 2 seats as its a sleepers can. should I refusse to carry the exsrta 2 pepol.

Our Response:
If the vehicle is not fitted with four seats you cannot safely transport 4 people. Negotiate with your employer, rather than flatly refusing though.
SafeWorkers - 5-Jul-17 @ 12:02 PM
can any1 shed some light my transport manager want me to carry 4 pepole in my hgv it only 2 seats as its a sleepers can.. should i refusse to carry the exsrta 2 pepol....
tommy - 4-Jul-17 @ 5:44 PM
I work on a dustcart and the temperature in my cab registered 54 c today as the air conditioning is not working it made me feel very drowsy..is this illegal?Can I refuse to drive the vehicle?How does health and safety regs comply with this? Many thanks Ray.
Rayza - 19-Jun-17 @ 10:50 PM
Cal - Your Question:
Just been dismissed on serious misconduct following a disciplinary meeting, for a break line coming off and going over the 15 hour work limit. Does this sound reasonable, no warning, no nothing,

Our Response:
It sounds as though your employer followed the correct procedure.You can be dismissed without a formal warning if you have committed a gross misconduct.
SafeWorkers - 27-Feb-17 @ 11:20 AM
Just been dismissed on serious misconductfollowing a disciplinary meeting, for a break line coming off and going over the 15 hour work limit. Does this sound reasonable, no warning, no nothing,
Cal - 24-Feb-17 @ 4:51 PM
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