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Driving at Work

By: Ross Wigham - Updated: 24 Feb 2017 | 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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Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
[Add a Comment]
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
I have a partner that works for a company delivering or escorting vehicles all over the country, his hours seem to get crazier by the day. This week has seen him up at 3/4am in the mornings, and a finish/home time from anything to 6/7pm.However yesterday saw his start at 7am, and at 12.49 he had only just left his work place to go which is a four hour drive. He will be passenger part way there and back (Drivers mate) they will take it in turns. His estimated return home time is something like 11-12pm, so a 16/17 hour working day?? Is this legal?Really frustrating that A. for one he is never home and B. When he is he is always tired.The day before this he started at 7am and got home at 8.30pm
ABC - 24-Feb-17 @ 1:44 PM
Hi I work for a large supermarket driving hgv1 we work 40 hours a week with the chance of overtime but the management have been trying to cut overtime so instead of giving us an answer on a Friday they put us down astbc then phone us at home for overtime I work nights so they are interrupting my daily or weekly rest we have argued about this being illegal but they insist that it is not could you answer this question please.
Snowy - 14-Jan-17 @ 1:21 PM
I work for a large contracting company we are required to drivea company van all over the country for early morning starts we receive a small mileage allowance witch is as crow flies and is taxed we are out of house 13 hrs paid 8hrs pick up other employees go to yard and most times pick up a trailer with machinery or goods to take to site do a full shift return to yard drop trailer drop other employees off then go home.when should I be getting paid my hourly rate?
The only driver - 1-Nov-16 @ 7:22 PM
I drive for an independent company and I drive up to 14 to 17 hours a day I want to know who I can call because surely this is illegal we do this without a break we do this without a set break I mean and they do they don't care if we eat or go to the bathroom some of us have back pain bulging discs in our backs and yet we drive all those hours a day without a break who can I call in is this legal
K - 31-Aug-16 @ 7:01 PM
Jazz69 - Your Question:
I drive for a large retail supermarket which includes driving lgv vehicles from 16Tonne to 44tonne I feel I am being bullied by mangers and office staff as I am being given multi drop work in London every day I feel stressed driving in London nearly every week I have for other driving work in other areas but have been told that I should just get on with the work I am given and stop complaining. We have about 200+ drivers at our depot and know many that do not do London and wouldn't do London and seem to get away with it I have spoken to my rep but they say there's nothing they can do about it and that the driver's not doing London have special arrangements with the company this treatment I am receiving at this company is driving me crazy and making me feel ill is their any help I can get from outside of the company because I don't know which way I can turn next

Our Response:
There isn't much you can do about this except to raise a formal grievance/complaint if you are feeling discriminated against.
SafeWorkers - 28-Jun-16 @ 11:33 AM
J p - Your Question:
I carry hazardous goods in a van for a living all over the UK last year we got given the option to do a Scotland run with overnight stay,I said no as we do enough hours as it is,we have now been told we have to do the run there's no option failure to comply will result in disaplinary. Can they do this as it's not in my contract I've not signed anything saying I will do Scotland thanks

Our Response:
Does your contract state the number of hours and days you work? If your employer is trying to make you work extra hours, they are in breach of contract. See our article on change of employment hours here.
SafeWorkers - 27-Jun-16 @ 10:22 AM
I drive for a large retail supermarket which includes driving lgv vehicles from 16Tonne to 44tonne I feel I am being bullied by mangers and office staff as I am being given multi drop work in London every day I feel stressed driving in London nearly everyweek I have for other driving work in other areas but have been told that I should just get on with the work I am given and stop complaining. We have about 200+ drivers at our depot and know many that do not do London and wouldn't do London and seem to get away with it I have spoken to my rep but they say there's nothing they can do about it and that the driver's not doing London have special arrangements with the company this treatment I am receiving at this company is driving me crazy and making me feel ill is their any help i can get from outside of the company because I don't know which way I can turn next
Jazz69 - 26-Jun-16 @ 2:48 PM
I carry hazardous goods in a van for a living all over the UK last year we got given the option to do a Scotland run with overnight stay,I said no as we do enough hours as it is,we have now been told we have to do the run there's no option failure to comply will result in disaplinary. Can they do this as it's not in my contract I've not signed anything saying I will do Scotland thanks
J p - 24-Jun-16 @ 6:32 AM
shaddy - Your Question:
I drive a 26T lorry without any aircon in the summer heat the cab becomes stifling hotwhich tends to make me feel very drowsy. Are there any laws that cover excessive heat in these conditions ?

Our Response:
Not really, although employers do have a responsibility to provide reasonable working conditions for their employees. Have you asked about air conditioning or other measures to help with the heat? Drowsiness is especially dangerous for drivers, so your employer should be willing to listen and act on your request.
SafeWorkers - 10-Jun-16 @ 10:47 AM
I drive a 26T lorry without any airconin the summer heat the cab becomes stifling hot which tends to make me feel very drowsy . Are there any laws that cover excessive heat in these conditions ?
shaddy - 8-Jun-16 @ 7:18 PM
Strev63 - Your Question:
I'm trying to find out if there are any regulations regarding the driver seats in a London Bus. I'm pretty sure that the majority of the drivers seats in our buses would not conform to a H&S check, however I'm lost trying to find info on such.Majority of our drivers seats have no lumber support together with very little padding.Tried to Google such information but with absolutely no success.Do you have any suggestions please?

Our Response:
Have your tried contacting the Health and Safety Executive or your union about it?
SafeWorkers - 11-May-16 @ 2:20 PM
Graham - Your Question:
I currently drive 7.5 tonne vehicles for a parcel company, many of my colleagues bring up the issue that the rear box of the vehicles are loaded literally to the rear door, so after you have used the steps to gain entry to the back you are faced with a wall of parcels and pallets. So the question is really, is this a serious Health an Safety issue as there is no safe working area for the delivery driver to manoeuvre a pallet trunk onto the tail lift, without actually pulling the pallet onto the lift rather than pushing it onto the taillift and being safe and in control.

Our Response:
Have you raised this with your employer? If you are concerned as a group, you can make a representation...ask to see the risk assessment etc. If your employer doesn't address it, seek advice from the Health and Safety Executive.
SafeWorkers - 11-May-16 @ 12:21 PM
I'm trying to find out if there are any regulations regarding the driver seats in a London Bus. I'm pretty sure that the majority of the drivers seats in our buses would not conform to a H&S check, however I'm lost trying to find info on such. Majority of our drivers seats have no lumber support together with very little padding. Tried to Google such information but with absolutely no success. Do you have any suggestions please?
Strev63 - 9-May-16 @ 10:55 AM
I currently drive 7.5 tonne vehicles for a parcel company, many of my colleagues bring up the issue that the rear box of the vehicles are loaded literally to the rear door, so after you have used the steps to gain entry to the back you are faced with a wall of parcels and pallets. So the question is really, is this a serious Health an Safety issue as there is no safe working area for the delivery driver to manoeuvre a pallet trunk onto the tail lift, without actually pulling the pallet onto the lift rather than pushing it onto the taillift and being safe and in control. .
Graham - 8-May-16 @ 9:49 PM
exhausted & accident - Your Question:
I am a respiratory therapist that provides home equipment for patients in there home. I am paid salary and recieve no overtime. I drive 4000 miles in a month. I have been forced to drive more than 9 hours a day and work 9 to 14 hours a day. One incident I was on call and had to make a round trip of 6 hours after working a full day getting home at 3 am. I was told the company would not pay for a hotel. I had a company truck driving without air conditioning and got into an accident. I was making a left turn and a kid speeding rear ended me. I was not hurt but the18 year old was. I did not feel comfortable driving long hours especially without air conditioning. I was given a smaller station wagon van. The driving time continued and I was exhausted and about 3 weeks later I got into another accident only much worse with a motorcyclist and a passenger who I believe hit me. This was traumatizing and I was ready to leave the job. I was told I could drive my car. I explained many times it is too much driving and I am exhausted. The long distance continues with a single patient round trip of 6 and 8 hours. I drive in the woods and dirt roads. I got stuck in a foot of mud and my car cost me $1300. I also went to a field with very tall grass and got stuck on a tree. With all of this I am still expected to drive 400 miles and work 14 hours. Emotionally I am afraid to drive. Are there any laws for home healthcare workers on salary for limiting amount of hours driving or working. I believe all these mishaps are from exhaustion. I am told that I am the only one who complains. Help!Exhausted and accident prone

Our Response:
Depending on the nature of your work you may be covered by the Drivers' hours regulations . Note also that your employer has a duty of care towards you and this is not being fulfilled. File a formal grievance and contact the Health and Safety Executive for more help.
SafeWorkers - 25-Aug-15 @ 11:19 AM
i am a respiratory therapist that provides home equipment for patients in there home. I am paid salary and recieve no overtime. I drive 4000 miles in a month. I have been forced to drive more than 9 hours a day and work 9 to 14 hours a day. One incident I was on call and had to make a round trip of 6 hours after working a full day getting home at 3 am. I was told the company would not pay for a hotel. I had a company truck driving without air conditioning and got into an accident. I was making a left turn and a kid speeding rear ended me. I was not hurt but the18 year old was. I did not feel comfortable driving long hours especially without air conditioning. I was given a smaller station wagon van. The driving time continued and I was exhausted and about 3 weeks later I got into another accident only much worse with a motorcyclist and a passenger who I believe hit me. This was traumatizing and I was ready to leave the job. I was told I could drive my car. I explained many times it is too much driving and I am exhausted. The long distance continues with a single patient round trip of 6 and 8 hours. I drive in the woods and dirt roads. I got stuck in a foot of mud and my car cost me $1300. I also went to a field with very tall grass and got stuck on a tree. With all of this I am still expected to drive 400 miles and work 14 hours. Emotionally I am afraid to drive. Are there any laws for home healthcare workers on salary for limiting amount of hours driving or working. I believe all these mishaps are from exhaustion. I am told that I am the only one who complains.Help! Exhausted and accident prone
exhausted & accident - 22-Aug-15 @ 7:11 PM
@peacefrog. There is a lot of information about the daily walk around check but nothing that states whether the daily check sheet should be kept with the vehicle (or not). Check records must be maintained for inspection purposes for some time afterwards however. Read section 3 (pages 13 to 15) of this government guide for more information
SafeWorkers - 5-Sep-14 @ 11:19 AM
Part of my work is driving upto a 7.5 ton vehicle on a C1, Before I set off We check over the vehicle and mark it all off on a check sheet. This then is signed by the driving crew and then the line manager. My question is, should this vehicle check sheet stay with the vehicle Or left at the depot? Is there a requirement from VOSA and if so What ruling is it under. I would be grateful of some clarification Many thanks.
peacefrog - 4-Sep-14 @ 1:12 PM
@Clau. Do you have a union at work? If so have a word with them. If not, get in touch with ACAS (acas.org.uk) and they'll give you details of what you're entitled to etc.
bilbo - 30-Jun-14 @ 11:17 AM
I am a lorry driver,working 60-66 hours weekly(12-15 hours per day but never exeed the driving hours in one day.....i drive 9 hours and the difference is working time). Can the company force me to work so many hours? i dont get paid for overtime,i receive my basis salary and nothing more. The company don´t pay a separate cover for workplace injuries, is this legal,considering my profession? If i fall while unloading my lorry and breake a leg or my back ,what can i do without a cover(I work with bulks and i have to get on the top of the container to check it ) If i will have an accident with my lorry ,even if I am not guilty ,considering the hours i am working , I can go to the court as guilty due tiredness ?
Clau - 26-Jun-14 @ 4:50 PM
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