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Driving at Work

By: Ross Wigham - Updated: 21 Aug 2019 | 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]
The company I drive a van for expects me to work 40 hours in 3 days, 14 hour days of working and driving I’ve heard the maximum amount of time driving whilst working is 11 hours is this correct and who should I speak to for legal advice as this is dangerous one driver has already fallen asleep at the wheel, it’s exhausting and management are bullies it’s only a matter of time before one of us is dead.
Dan - 26-Jul-19 @ 12:11 PM
We are currently experiencing temperatures in excess of 35 degrees I am being asked to drive long distances a heavy goods vehicle class 1 with no air conditioning the temperature in the cab of the lorry reaching nearly 40 degrees is there a law on how hot the cab can be and should I be able to legally ask for a truck with air conditioning in the temperatures
Mgh - 25-Jul-19 @ 6:53 PM
A company in Warrington Cheshire V Moves collect and deliver lease cars all over the UK. The only way to do the job is to drive up to 12 hours a day and sleep in a car overnight. Last week the distances were 650 miles a day and in traffic driving for well over 10 hours. No health and safety training and no welfare for the individual whatsoever. Can this company be approached and reprimanded please its operating illegally
Lofty - 14-Jul-19 @ 10:04 PM
I work for a skip company, we get payed for a day base rate and after 7 jobs done we get a bonus, but I don't thinks is ok. The drivers just rush on roads and is more pressure on them. Can anyone tell if is OK and show me the low on this Thanka
Salam - 11-May-19 @ 12:19 PM
I'm a commercial archaeologist working on a job near Manchester from the company offices in Reading. I take a rental car with 5 other guys (all of whom can't drive) and drive up on a Monday (6hrs) and back on a Friday (6hrs). I don't get any extra pay to do this and I'm absolutely exhausted by the end of it because I'm also doing 4 hours of digging each day. Is this legal?
UnhappyTrowel - 6-Apr-19 @ 8:56 AM
My partner drives a 3.5 tonne vehicle, is it legal for him to be sleeping in the back of his van at night. His employer does not provide a bed in his cab, or night heater.
Josie - 22-Mar-19 @ 8:11 AM
My partner drives a 3.5 to be vehicle, is it legal for him to be sleeping in the back of his van at night. His employer does not provide a bed in his cab, or night heater.
Josie - 22-Mar-19 @ 8:11 AM
i work for a care company and we need to drive servic users around. I am happy enough to drive the smaller vechiles we have got...but we we have got larger vechiles i do not feel comfortable to drive. Am i am able to refuse on the fact i dont feel comfortable to drive them?
CareWorker - 14-Jan-19 @ 8:00 AM
I work for a care company and drive people who we care for around, pick ups drops etc The cars don’t seem road worthy but have up to date most Some cars have no rear view wipes no sun Visors one break light not working, Heaters not working Can we still be forced to drive ?
Lorrylaine - 6-Dec-18 @ 10:06 AM
I have been asked to bring in my vehicle licence to drive company vehicle but I feel unless I get a wage rise then I should be able to refuse their wishes. Everyone else at work has higher rate so I feel parity is in order.
Tartan - 5-Dec-18 @ 11:53 PM
As a sales rep I am being asked to travel long hours most days sometimes over 250 mIles a day DO the company have any responsibility for my welfare I have had a few close accidents due to tiredness
Monkey - 26-Nov-18 @ 4:01 PM
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 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
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
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
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 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
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