Driving for work. It can be risky business, 1 in 3 drivers who are killed on the roads are driving for work.
Not everyone goes out the house in the morning thinking they may not come home.
But for many that is the case.
What can be done, you might ask?
Are you the director/owner/founder of your company? This can be any business, including self-employed. You want to be seen to be the leader, you want to have your employees, colleagues, other businesses look at you and think or even say, you got it right.
Let’s do some checks to see how much your business is covering these areas. Once you have all these questions answered and covered, you will have your business compliant with the Health and Safety guidelines for driving for work.
Here are 82 Questions to Ask When You Have Staff Driving for Work
1. Are your drivers competent and capable of doing their work in a way that is safe for them and other people?
2. Have you specified what levels of skill and expertise are required to do the job safely and how do you ensure these are met?
3. Do you check the validity of driving licences on recruitment and periodically afterwards?
4. What are you doing to make sure your drivers are aware of company policy on work-related road safety and understand what is expected of them?
5. Could you use written instructions and guidance, training sessions or group meetings to help you communicate your policy more effectively?
6. Are your drivers properly trained?
7. Do you provide general induction training for staff driving for work?
8. Do you arrange for drivers to be trained – giving priority to those at highest risk, eg those with high annual mileage, poor accident records, or those new to the job?
9. Do you find out whether drivers require extra training to carry out their duties safely, such as using advanced and defensive driving techniques, or how to load and unload safely?
9. Do you consider training about other road users, eg cyclists or motorcyclists?
10. Do you assess training needs periodically, including the requirement for refresher training?
11. Do you ensure your training providers are competent to deliver the training you need?
12. Do you ensure your drivers have clear instructions about how to keep themselves safe while on the road?
13. Do drivers know how to carry out routine safety checks, such as those on lights, tyres and wheel fixings, and report any faults?
14. Do drivers know how to correctly adjust safety equipment, eg seat belts and head restraints?
15. Do drivers know how to use anti-lock braking systems (ABS) properly?
16. Do drivers know what to do to ensure they are safe if their vehicle breaks down, eg use safety warning triangles and high-visibility jackets?
17. Do you need to provide a handbook for drivers giving advice on road safety?
18. Do drivers know they must not drive under the influence of drink or drugs?
19. Do drivers know they must not use a hand-held mobile phone while driving and that even using a hands-free phone can seriously affect concentration?
20. Are drivers aware of the height of their vehicle, both laden and empty? There are estimated to be around three to six major bridge strikes every day.
21. Do you make sure crash helmets and protective clothing for motorcycle and bicycle riders are of the appropriate standard?
22. Are your drivers sufficiently fit and healthy to drive safely and not put themselves or others at risk?
23. Do drivers of heavy lorries, for whom there are legal requirements for medical examination, have the appropriate medical certificate?
24. Do you remind drivers that they must satisfy the eyesight and other health requirements of the Highway Code and DVLA?
25. Have you told drivers they should not drive while taking medicine that might impair their judgement? If there is any doubt, they should ask their GP.
26. Are drivers aware of how dangerous tiredness can be and do they know what to do if they start to feel sleepy?
27. Do you encourage drivers to report any health concerns?
28. Are your drivers sufficiently fit and healthy to drive safely and not put themselves or others at risk?
29. Do drivers of heavy lorries, for whom there are legal requirements for medical examination, have the appropriate medical certificate?
30. Do you remind drivers that they must satisfy the eyesight and other health requirements of the Highway Code and DVLA?
31. Have you told drivers they should not drive while taking medicine that might impair their judgement? If there is any doubt, they should ask their GP.
32. Are drivers aware of how dangerous tiredness can be and do they know what to do if they start to feel sleepy?
33. Do you encourage drivers to report any health concerns?
34. Do you know your duties under health and safety law when employing contractors and subcontractors?
35. Did you know that both you and the contractor you use have duties under health and safety law?
36. Do you ensure contractors are competent to do the job safely and without risks to health and safety?
37. Do you provide contractors with information on the risks from your activities and the controls you have in place?
38. What arrangements do you have in place to ensure contractors tell you about any additional risks from their contracted work?
39. Have you set up liaison arrangements for co-operation and co-ordination with all those responsible to ensure the health and safety of everyone concerned?
40. Do you decide what you need to do to manage and supervise the work of contractors and agree any controls before work starts?
41. Are vehicles fit for the purpose for which they are used?
42. Do you investigate, when buying new vehicles, which ones are most suitable for driving and for the health and safety of the public?
43. Do you make sure your vehicles have driver aids and other safety devices where appropriate, eg reversing alarms, camera systems, proximity sensors, and side protection bars for lorries or HGVs to protect cyclists?
44. Do you ensure privately owned vehicles are not used for work purposes unless they are serviced in line with manufacturers’ recommendations, insured for business use and, where the vehicle is over three years old, have a valid MOT certificate?
45. Do you ensure drivers and passengers would be adequately protected in an incident, eg are any seatbelts, head restraints or airbags correctly fitted, working properly and used?
46. Do you ensure vehicles do not exceed their maximum load weight?
47. Do you have appropriate arrangements for carrying and properly securing goods and equipment in a vehicle?
48. Are vehicles maintained in a safe and fit condition?
49. Do you ensure daily vehicle checks are carried out?
50. Is planned/preventive maintenance carried out in accordance with manufacturers’ recommendations? Remember – an MOT certificate only covers basic defects and does not guarantee the safety of a vehicle.
51. Do you ensure tyres and windscreen wipers are inspected regularly and replaced as necessary?
52. What procedures are there for reporting defects and are they remedied promptly?
53. How do you ensure maintenance and repairs are carried out to an acceptable standard?
54. Do you have a clear policy that unsafe vehicles should not be driven?
55. Are you sure that drivers’ health, and possibly safety, is not being put at risk, eg.
from an inappropriate seating position or driving posture?
56. Do you take account of ergonomic considerations (eg driving position and how accessible the controls are) before buying or leasing new vehicles? Do you involve drivers in decisions about seating design?
57. Do you provide drivers with guidance on good posture and, where appropriate, on how to set their seat correctly?
58. Do you plan routes thoroughly?
59. Could you use safer routes which are more appropriate for the type of vehicle doing the journey?
60. Motorways are the safest roads and although minor roads may be fine for cars, they are less safe and could cause difficulties for larger vehicles.
61. Does your route planning take account of overhead restrictions, eg bridges and tunnels and other hazards, such as level crossings, which may present dangers for long vehicles?
62. Can you eliminate or reduce long road journeys by combining with other ways of working or other forms of transport? For example, move goods in bulk by train and then arrange for local distribution by van or lorry, or arrange meetings using conference calls or video links.
63. Do you plan routes in consultation with drivers or their representatives, taking account of, for example, the need for rest breaks and access to toilets and washing facilities?
64. Are work schedules realistic?
65. Do you take account of periods when drivers are most likely to feel sleepy when planning work schedules? Sleep-related incidents are most likely between 2 am and 6 am and between 2 pm and 4 pm.
66. Have you taken steps to stop employees from driving if they feel sleepy, even if this might upset delivery schedules?
67. Where appropriate, are tachographs fitted to vehicles and regularly checked?
68. There are other in-vehicle monitoring and telemetry devices which help to ensure drivers are not putting themselves and others at risk.
69. Do you try to avoid periods of peak traffic flow?
70. Do you make allowances for new starters, young workers and trainee drivers?
71. Do you allow enough time to complete journeys safely?
72. Do journey times take account of road types and conditions, and allow for rest breaks? The Highway Code recommends that drivers should take a 15-minute break every two hours.
73. Would you expect an occasional driver to drive and work for longer than a professional driver? Professional HGV drivers must comply with the rules for drivers’ hours. There is more information on the government website.
74. Does company policy put drivers under pressure and encourage them to take unnecessary risks, eg to exceed safe speeds because of agreed arrival times?
75. Do you allow staff driving for work enough time to safely deliver loads?
76. How do you ensure drivers are not being asked to work an exceptionally long day? Remember that sometimes they will be starting a journey from home.
77. Have you considered advising drivers who work long or irregular hours of the dangers of driving home from work when they are excessively tired? Could they consider an alternative, such as an overnight stay?
78. Do you consider poor weather conditions, such as snow or high winds, when planning journeys?
79. Can your journey times and routes be adjusted to take account of poor weather conditions? Where this is possible, is it done?
80. Are vehicles properly equipped to operate in poor weather conditions, eg are anti-lock brakes or winter tyres fitted and is windscreen washer fluid the correct strength for freezing conditions?
81. Do drivers understand what to do to reduce risk, e.g. do drivers of high-sided vehicles know they should take extra care if driving in strong winds with a light load?
82. Do drivers feel pressured to complete journeys where weather conditions are exceptionally difficult and do they know who to contact if they need to cancel a journey?
If you have answered any of the above questions with a NO, please get in touch with our team at Parry’s Fleet Services to discuss how we can improve your drivers’ behaviour behind the wheel and how we can potentially save you money.
Alternatively, you can download our free driving for work checklist.