Vehicles at work: top health and safety requirements

Prevention is key in order to avoid accidents in the workplace and this is all the more true when driving or using a company vehicle is needed to complete a job.

More than a quarter of all car accidents involves a company vehicle or a person who is driving as part of their job. This can range from a simple car collision with a little cosmetic damage made to the company vehicle, to more severe physical injuries involving the driver, such as whiplash and even brain damage.

Employers are actually legally obliged to impose strict health and safety legislation as well as regular road and traffic legislation on all staff using company vehicles on the premises.This also includes vehicle use and maintenance.

Here are some of the most important factors to get checked off your list in order to effectively manage work-related road safety 100% accident-free.

  1. Competent driver

Risk assessment is part of any employer’s business and identifying any hazard that might cause an accident is crucial, including making sure an employee is fit to drive. It’s the employer’s responsibility to make sure the member of staff has the competence, skills and experience to drive and that their driving licence is valid and fit for purpose, especially when heavy vehicles are involved.

Common reasons for heavy trucks accidents include overloading and driving on roads with weight and height limitations but more than 80% of all heavy vehicles accidents are caused by the driver.

Four main causes can be identified: physical impairment, driver fatigue, lack of attention or poor general performance (often due to a lack of experience). In many instances, sleep deprivation is a contributing factor: general health and fatigue management is vital to avoid severe accidents and actually regulated by law.

  1. Good vehicles

Daily vehicles checks should be implemented imperatively and all usable parts such as tyres and windshields carefully inspected and replaced on a regular basis. Safety devices such as reversing alarms, cameras, etc… should be installed whenever possible to improve visibility.

  1. Are the routes safe?

Some routes might not be fit for purpose, depending on the type of vehicle that is being used, a heavy load vehicle or a simple company car. It’s important to plan routes accordingly, whether it should involve driving on the highway or on smaller roads. Be aware of any weight and height restrictions and generally try and avoid long journeys and the subsequent fatigue, a prime factor for road and traffic accidents.

  1. Driver fatigue

To prevent driver fatigue, it’s generally recommended to avoid driving between midnight and 6AM, and after lunch between 2pm and 4pm, when post-lunch drowsiness is setting in. Besides, by law, a driver is required to take a fifteen minute break every two hours.

For drivers on the road for more than 4 hours a day, a tachograph should be fitted onto the vehicle to keep tabs on hours and all activities. In any working day, the employee should not exceed ten hours of driving, the maximum amount permitted by the UK Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency.


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