Managing Health at Work Partnership Information Network (PIN) Guideline

This Guideline emphasises the need for employers to promote and support employee health and wellbeing and includes sections on issues that affect the health and safety of staff in their everyday work.


Guideline 7 Reducing work-related driving risks
7.1 Introduction

Work-related driving is defined as:

'driving activities undertaken by staff in the course of their work'.

Out of a total of 3600 deaths from road accidents every year, it is estimated that between 800 and 1000 occur in accidents involving vehicles being driven for work purposes. A recent HSE survey shows that every year 'work'-related road accidents account for 77,000 injuries to employees. (HSE 2001)

Staff have the right to expect safe working conditions in relation to all aspects of their work and employers have a legal and ethical duty to take an active approach to managing occupational road risks. NHSScotland organisations must do all that is reasonably practical to protect their staff who, as part of their job, have to do some work-related driving.

Besides taking action to protect staff and other road users, NHSScotland organisations need to manage risks in order to control the very significant losses which arise from 'at-work' road accidents. These include:

  • direct accident costs;

  • lost staff time;

  • higher insurance premiums; and

  • poor public image.

It is essential to make sure that occupational road risks are managed in exactly the same way as any other risk to the health and safety of staff.

7.2 Principles and values

Within NHSScotland there must be an integrated organisational approach to addressing the problems associated with work-related driving. The following principles and values should form the backbone of developing strategies and policies for tackling this issue at a local level.

  • Organisations should develop and promote a culture in which the personal safety of all staff is valued and protected and where risks to staff resulting from work-related driving are seen as unacceptable.

  • Senior managers within organisations need to show their commitment to reducing dangers associated with work-related driving, make available the resources for putting the policy into practice, and make sure that it is clear who is responsible for each function.

  • All staff should expect that any risk to them or their colleagues will be reduced as far as possible, by using effective risk-management systems.

  • Staff and their representatives should be fully involved in developing and putting in place local strategies and policies to reduce work-related driving risks.

7.3 The dangers of work-related driving

The number of people who need to drive as part of their work is increasing. The risks to these staff will depend on the nature of situations where driving is needed. Many staff who drive will carry out these activities alone and you should consider the risks associated with work-related driving along with the risks of lone working. Dangers include:

  • driving in poor weather conditions;

  • driving for long periods over long journeys;

  • the vulnerability of travelling alone;

  • driving in unfamiliar or isolated rural areas;

  • driving in high-risk locations;

  • isolated parking facilities;

  • vehicle breakdowns; and

  • driving unfamiliar vehicles.

7.4 The legislative framework

The main piece of legislation governing road safety is the Road Traffic Act, supported by the Highway Code. All drivers are legally responsible for their own actions on the road and for keeping to the requirements of the Road Traffic Act. The Health and Safety at Work Act (1974) also applies where staff have to use vehicles for work. This essentially means that all organisations have a duty of care and should have 'safe systems of work' in place which reduce related risks to staff and others as far as possible.

7.5 Risk assessment

The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations (1999) say that employers must make suitable assessments of the risks faced by their staff on the road and introduce measures to eliminate or control any risks identified.

Factors to be considered in carrying out this type of risk assessment include:

  • the competence of the driver;

  • the driver's fitness and any medical conditions that could put them at risk;

  • driving hours and the length of the journey;

  • the reliability and suitability of the vehicle;

  • driving in poor weather;

  • handling and securing loads;

  • road conditions and journey routes; and

  • the associated risks of working alone.

Assessments of the risks associated with work-related driving should also take account of associated occupational health issues such as:

  • ergonomic factors;

  • musculo-skeletal disorders;

  • eyestrain;

  • noise;

  • vibration; and

  • strain.

Staff should also be aware of their responsibility to carry out a risk assessment before each journey. They should take account of:

  • their own physical condition and fitness to drive;

  • the condition of the vehicle;

  • weather conditions; and

  • planned routes of travel.

7.6 Developing policy

Measures for dealing with occupational road risks need careful thought and sound risk assessment as their basis. Policies, management arrangements and organisational culture need to be such that the risks of work-related driving are taken seriously at all levels.

Policies on work-related driving should cover the following issues.

  • a commitment to making sure those who are involved in work-related driving are safe;

  • a definition of work-related driving;

  • a statement of the aims of the policy;

  • details of employers' legal responsibilities;

  • details of managers' responsibilities;

  • details of staff's responsibilities;

  • identification of the dangers of work-related driving;

  • information on risk assessment;

  • details of control and risk-reduction measures;

  • emergency procedures and arrangements for unplanned events (for example, accidents and breakdowns); and

  • details on arrangements for monitoring and reviewing policies.

Policies need to be translated into effective action. They need to be supported by more detailed procedures, effective monitoring and a positive health and safety culture. Specific local guidance may be required in relation to:

  • driving in adverse weather conditions;

  • carrying and transporting passengers (including patients) and equipment;

  • handling and securing loads;

  • transporting food; and

  • transporting dangerous loads and dealing with spillages.

When developing and putting in place policies and local guidelines, organisations should work in partnership. Involving staff and Trade Unions/Professional Organisations is an important step, as they are a valuable source of information and advice. Their involvement will also help to make sure that all relevant dangers have been identified and appropriate control measures put in place. Consultation with staff and their representatives on health and safety matters is also a legal duty.

7.7 Strategies for managing work-related driving

There are a number of recommended strategies that should be used by organisations to reduce the risks associated with work-related driving.

These include:

  • an inspection every year of driving licences and insurance certificates;

  • providing regular information for staff on driving safely;

  • restrictions on using hand-held phones and other distracting activities (for example, eating and drinking) while driving;

  • referring to the organisation's alcohol and drug policies and assessing the general fitness of the driver;

  • providing eye tests every two years through the Occupational Health Service;

  • clear limits on maximum driving distances each day and maximum unbroken driving hours (no driver should drive continuously for more than 2.5 hours without a break);

  • providing guidance on planning a safe journey and procedures to be followed in the event of a breakdown or accident;

  • providing guidance on carrying basic safety equipment (for example, a first-aid kit, fire extinguisher, warning triangle and torch); and

  • formal procedures for reporting, recording and investigating all accidents, incidents and near misses.

Vehicles must be fit for their purpose and in a roadworthy condition. How vehicles are used may vary widely and it is essential that the correct type of vehicle is chosen. Staff who need to drive a vehicle as part of their work must have the most suitable vehicle for their needs and where necessary, vehicles should be fitted with any extra safety equipment needed (for example, a body-space safety partition, or luggage or goods-retention system).

7.7.1 Monitoring

Effective monitoring of the strategies in place to minimise and reduce the risks of work related driving is essential. All organisations should identify local quality indicators around risk reduction and management as good practice.

7.7.2 Communication

All organisations must make sure that they set up clear systems to communicate the organisation's policy on work related driving to all relevant staff within the organisation.

In order to communicate the organisational policy on work-related driving risks:

  • there needs to be clear commitment and support from senior management for the policy to be fully adopted within the organisation;

  • briefing sessions should be held for managers on launching the new or amended policy;

  • managers must make sure that current staff realise their individual responsibility to keep to the policy; and

  • new staff must be made aware of the policy and their responsibilities as part of their induction.

7.7.3 Measuring success

All organisations should have in place:

  • a policy on reducing work-related driving risks based on a full risk assessment which is reviewed each year within the Local or Area Partnership Forums and Health and Safety Committees;

  • appropriate and thorough training programmes for relevant staff based on local risk assessment and including refresher training; and

  • robust and effective reporting systems which encourage staff to record all incidents and near misses.

In summary, all organisations must be able to show that everything that is reasonably practicable is being done to eliminate or reduce the risks associated with work-related driving. A major measure of success will be reducing the number of injuries, accidents and incidents resulting from these activities. This will be achieved by using best practice and a combination of safe systems of work and increased awareness of the risks involved.

Model policy on work-related driving risks
1 Policy statement

[Name of organisation] takes extremely seriously the health, safety and welfare of all its staff. It recognises the risks to staff who need to carry out work-related driving and is committed to the prevention of injury, loss of life and damage to property from work-related driving incidents. The purpose of this policy is to enable [Name of organisation] to meet its obligation to protect staff so far as is reasonably practicable from all occupational road risks associated with work-related driving.

2 Scope

This policy applies to all staff involved in work-related driving activities, including drivers of organisational vehicles, and leased-car and owner-drivers. It forms an integral part of [Name of organisation]'s Health and Safety policy and applies along with specific local guidance on work-related driving and the management of occupational risks. The policy applies to all work-related driving arising in connection with the duties and activities of our staff.

3 Definition of work-related driving

[Name of organisation] defines work-related driving as:

'any driving activities carried out by employees in the course of their work'.

4 Policy aims

This policy aims to:

  • increase staff awareness of safety issues associated with work-related driving risks;

  • make sure that risk in relation to work-related driving is assessed in a systematic and ongoing way, and that safe systems and methods of work are put in place to reduce the risk as far as is reasonably practicable;

  • make sure that appropriate training is available to staff in all areas, that equips them to recognise risk and provides practical advice on preventing and managing occupational road risks;

  • make sure that appropriate support is available to staff involved in work-related driving incidents;

  • encourage full reporting and recording of all incidents arising in the course of work-related driving; and

  • reduce the number of incidents and injuries to staff resulting from work-related driving.

5 Responsibilities

5.1 The Chief Executive is responsible for:

  • making sure there are arrangements for identifying, evaluating and managing risk associated with work-related driving;

  • providing resources for putting the policy into practice; and

  • making sure that there are arrangements for monitoring incidents linked to work-related driving and that the Board regularly reviews the effectiveness of the policy.

5.2 Senior and line managers are responsible for:

  • making sure that all relevant staff are aware of the policy;

  • making sure that risk assessments are carried out and regularly reviewed;

  • putting into place procedures and safe systems of work designed to eliminate or reduce the likelihood of work-related driving incidents;

  • making sure that staff groups and individuals identified as being at risk are given appropriate information, instruction and training, including training at induction, updates and refresher training as necessary;

  • making sure that appropriate support is provided to staff involved in any incident associated with work-related driving; and

  • managing the effectiveness of preventative measures through an effective system of reporting, investigating and recording incidents.

5.3 All staff are responsible for:

  • taking reasonable care of themselves and other people who may be affected by their actions;

  • co-operating by following rules and procedures designed for safe working;

  • reporting all incidents in relation to work-related driving;

  • taking part in training designed to meet the requirements of the policy; and

  • reporting any dangers they identify or any concerns they might have about work-related driving.

6 Assessing risk

6.1 Risk assessment must be carried out in all areas of work where work-related driving poses an actual or potential risk to staff. The risk assessment will involve identifying all potential dangers and the risks associated with specific work-related driving activities. It should identify who will be affected and how, and the control measures which are needed to eliminate or reduce the risk to the lowest level reasonably practicable. A competent person must carry out risk assessment and it should be recorded and shared with relevant others. The following details should be recorded:

  • the extent and nature of the risks;

  • the factors that contribute to the risk - including job content and specific tasks and activities; and

  • the safe systems of work to be followed to eliminate or reduce the risk.

6.2 These details should be communicated to staff, and risk assessments reviewed and updated annually, or sooner if circumstances change.

6.3 All drivers should also carry out risk assessments before beginning any journey. This should include assessing the condition of the vehicle, weather conditions and route, and their own fitness to drive. The driver risk-assessment checklist included in Annex 1 of Appendix 7. A can help with this process.

7 Managing risk

Departmental procedures must be in place that provide specific guidance for staff on managing work-related driving risks. This should include guidance on driver risk assessment and details of procedures to follow in the event of a work-related driving incident. All staff must be familiar with these local procedures. Specific measures to include in local procedures to help reduce risks include the following:

7.1 Driver checks and qualifications

Drivers may only drive vehicles for which they hold appropriate licences.

Car and van drivers must have a full and current driving licence. Minibus drivers (up to eight seats) must be over 25 years of age and have a full and current driving licence. Drivers who passed their ordinary driving test after 1 January 1997 (in other words, category B) may not drive any vehicle with more than eight seats, not including the driver. For minibuses with over eight seats, drivers must also have passed a further test allowing them to drive vehicles in category D1 (passenger vehicles with between nine and sixteen seats).

Line managers should undertake an annual audit of licence, and where appropriate insurance certificates, for all staff involved in work-related driving activities. The line manager must see the licence and insurance certificate, and the driver and the line manager should sign a driver declaration form. In cases where the licence or insurance details are not in line with requirements the staff member should not be allowed to continue to drive on behalf of the organisation. Staff must tell the organisation about any changes in the status of their licence or their health that could affect their continued driving.

The following people are specifically excluded from driving organisation vehicles.

  • Anyone who does not hold a full, valid UK driving licence for the category of vehicle being driven (or who does not have a relevant foreign or international licence that allows them to drive in the UK).

  • Anyone who suffers from a condition that would disqualify them from holding or getting a relevant current driving licence.

  • Anyone who has a current conviction for a motoring offence in the following categories:

    • dangerous driving, causing death by dangerous driving, or manslaughter;

    • driving under the influence of drink or drugs;

    • failing to stop after an accident; and

    • any other offence (or combination of offences) which has or might result in disqualification.

If the organisation becomes aware of any pending prosecution it can exercise the right to suspend staff from driving duties whilst awaiting the trial outcome.

7.2 Driving standards

Under the Road Traffic Act drivers are legally responsible for their own actions on the road and for keeping to all traffic regulations. We consider all our staff to be ambassadors for the organisation. Their behaviour while driving is a reflection on our corporate image. As such, we expect drivers to be polite and to follow the Highway Code and other driving laws and regulations. This is particularly important for drivers of vehicles which bear our logo. We will make sure that our drivers of vehicles involved in careless or repeated incidents take part in an assessment and retraining programme. We may also use the 'Management of Employee Conduct' policy following serious violations or persistent unsafe driving behaviour.

7.3 Caring for vehicles

Under the Road Traffic Act it is the driver's responsibility for making sure any vehicle they drive on public roads is roadworthy. If there is any doubt about a vehicle's roadworthiness, it should not be driven on public roads or our sites until the problem has been sorted out. A staff member in each location will have responsibility for checking and maintaining the roadworthiness of our vehicles.

7.4 Wearing seatbelts

All drivers and anyone in a vehicle must, by law, wear a seatbelt. It is the responsibility of the driver, but also the duty of any staff member, to make sure that anyone in an organisational vehicle is wearing a seatbelt.

7.5 Alcohol, drug abuse, smoking

Driving on organisational business while under the influence of alcohol or illicit drugs is not allowed. We will use the 'Management of Employee Conduct' policy and may take formal action for any staff member this applies to. Staff should also tell their manager if, at any time, they have to take prescribed drugs that may affect their ability to drive. Smoking is not allowed in our vehicles.

7.6 Using mobile phones

Staff should not make calls from mobile phones while driving. Even with 'hands-free' phones, studies show that calls can be a distraction and, consequently, calls should only be made when the vehicle is stopped. If a staff member receives a call on a mobile phone while driving, s/he should pull over at the nearest point at which it is safe to do so before answering the call. We suggest that staff use automated voice-mail facilities.

7.7 Drivers' hours and rest

Any specific legislation referring to drivers' hours (for example, tachograph regulations) applies. Tiredness, fatigue and stress (be it from work, domestic or social circumstances) can affect safe driving. Drivers should take account of this and not drive if they believe that they are unfit to do so. No staff member should drive for more than 2.5 hours without taking a break for at least 15 minutes.

8 Staff training

8.1 We will provide basic driver safety training to give staff the knowledge and skills needed to help prevent and manage work-related driving risks. Different levels of training will be available and we will provide specialist training if necessary, based on the needs identified through local risk assessment. (For example, this could include training for staff involved in transporting patients or food, training in transporting dangerous loads, and training in loading and securing goods.)

8.2 We will also provide training in relation to driver risk assessment, and guidance on musculo-skeletal conditions associated with driving for long periods. The seat being in the correct position, position of the head rest and position of major controls are essential to reduce the risk of personal injury in an accident and to make sure the driver has a good posture to prevent back problems and tiredness. Line managers are responsible for making sure that staff receive appropriate training and have access to refresher training on a regular basis. Advice and guidance on basic and specialist driver training is available from the Training and Development Department.

9 Reporting and recording

Staff should report all incidents (including near misses) to their line manager at the earliest opportunity. These should be reported on an incident form and all reports should be investigated by the line manager. In accordance with RIDDOR, the Health and Safety Executive must be notified in writing within ten days of an incident if any staff member is absent from work for more than three consecutive days as a result of a work-related driving incident. To monitor the implementation and effectiveness of this policy and associated local protocols, managers should regularly review local statistics and incident reports.

10 Monitoring and reviewing

We will monitor and review this policy in partnership to make sure that we are achieving the aims of the policy. We will do this with Trade Unions/Professional Organisations and safety representatives. The review processes will include:

  • collecting and monitoring all reported incidents by our Health and Safety Adviser;

  • every three months, reporting to local Health and Safety Committees and the Partnership Forum on incident statistics and safety improvement measures;

  • every year, reporting to the Health and Safety Committee and Risk Management Group on how we are following the policy, the outcomes of risk assessment, and details of training provided; and

  • every year, reporting to the Board to highlight progress in reducing risk and incidents and making recommendations for the forthcoming year.

Annex 1

You should consider the following points before beginning any journey.

1 Journey planning

1.1 Has a safe journey plan been put together covering:

  • start time?

  • finish time?

  • stops?

  • adequate rest breaks?

  • safest route?

1.2 Does it take account of:

  • environmental conditions?

  • enough time for breaks?

  • restrictions on maximum distances and driving hours?

  • times of day associated with fatigue?

  • accident black spots?

  • traffic conditions?

  • number of pedestrians?

  • business overruns and hold-ups?

  • Other factors which might have an effect?

2 The vehicle

2.1 Is the vehicle fit for the purpose of the journey, including:

  • distance to be travelled?

  • load carrying?

  • passengers?

  • the road conditions?

2.2 Have pre-journey safety checks been carried out on:

  • tyres?

  • lights?

  • windscreens and windows?

  • washers and wipers?

  • mirrors?

  • oil, coolant and battery levels?

  • signs of damage?

2.3 Is the vehicle one with which the driver is familiar, particularly in relation to:

  • seating position?

  • mirror settings?

  • position of major and minor controls?

2.4 Does the vehicle have:

  • ABS (an anti-lock braking system) or other desirable safety features (for example, driver and load partitions)?

  • on-board emergency equipment such as a first-aid kit or fire extinguisher?

3 The driver
  • Does the driver have the appropriate, valid licence for the vehicle being driven?

  • Is the driver fit to drive?

  • Is the driver in the right frame of mind?

  • Has the driver received any driver training needed?

  • Does the driver know what to do in the case of an emergency?


Health and Safety Executive

Work Related Road Safety Task Group Discussion Document on "Preventing At-work Road Traffic Incidents", HSE Publications, 2001 Available at

Management of Health and

HMSO, 1999, ISBN 0 11 085625 2 Safety at Work Regulations

Recommended further reading

Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency

At a glance guide to the current medicalstandards of fitness to drive, Department of the Environment and Transport. Available at

Royal Society for the Prevention Of Accidents

Managing Occupational Road Risks - The RoSPA Guide

Available from RoSPA, Edgbaston Park,

353 Bristol Rd, Birmingham B5 1ST. Phone: 0121 248 2000

The Road Traffic Act (1991)

The Health and Safety at Work Act (1974)

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