HSE gets tough on driving standards

The Health and Safety Executive is stepping up its efforts to improve the
safety of work-related driving.

It is to use existing health and safety regulations to get tougher on
businesses, and will work with police to examine failures in companies’ health
and safety management following road traffic incidents.

Health and safety law requires employers to ensure so far as is reasonably
practical, the health and safety of all employees at all times. They must also
ensure others are not put at risk by the activities of their employees.

"Imposing unrealistic delivery schedules, inadequate training and
failure to properly maintain vehicles could all increase the risk of road accidents,"
said Katherine Southby of Davidson Webber solicitors.

"Employers will already be familiar with the need to make a ‘suitable
and sufficient’ risk assessment of the health and safety of their employees at
work and of other people who may be affected by their work activities. This,
now more than ever, needs to include any driving activity on the road,"
she warned.

Southby advised employers to look at ways of avoiding risks, such as
considering alternatives to travel in general or to road travel, choosing and
maintaining appropriate vehicles, restricting long hours, providing training
and carrying out driver assessments.

"Make management responsibilities explicit and instigate reviews, to
ensure a continuous loop of improvement," she added.

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