Driving and riding safely for work
As an employer, you must manage health and safety risks to workers who drive a vehicle or ride a motorcycle, other powered two-wheeler or bicycle on the road as part of a work activity. Health and safety law applies to work activities on the road in the same way as it does on a fixed site.
Driving for work is one of the most dangerous things workers will do. This guidance will help you prevent injuries, ill health and deaths. Following the guidance will also help to reduce stress and improve morale and operational efficiencies.
The law applies to both company and grey fleet vehicles. A grey fleet vehicle is owned and driven by a worker for business purposes. Vehicles used under cash allowance schemes are grey fleet too.
Commuting to work is not generally classified as driving for work, except where someone's journey starts from their home and they are travelling to a work location that is not their normal place of work. Health and safety law does not apply to commuting.
As part of your health and safety arrangements, you must do a risk assessment. The main areas you should look at in your risk assessment are the journey, the driver or rider and the vehicle.
Hazards that can cause harm to the driver or rider, passengers, other road users and/or pedestrians when driving for work include:
roadworks, traffic and congestion
fatigue and distraction
behaviour of other road users
You should also consider the risks to lone workers and other vulnerable workers. A lone worker is ‘someone who works by themselves without close or direct supervision’, including those who work away from a fixed base, such as delivery drivers or couriers.
You must also consult your workers about health and safety.
You must consider access to suitable welfare facilities for your drivers or riders.
The leaflet Plan, Do, Check, Act provides an introduction to managing for health and safety. These pages follow the ‘Safe journey, safe driver or rider, safe vehicle’ approach to managing driving and riding for work, which splits the risk into these areas.
Plan and manage journeys
You should make sure you plan journeys which are safe for your drivers and riders (‘safe journey’). Consider how long drivers and riders will be on the road for, where the work is, schedules, timing and the weather and put controls in place to manage any risks.
First, consider whether the journey is necessary.
When you are planning routes, choose the safest route for the type of vehicle. Motorways are the safest roads - minor roads can cause difficulties for larger vehicles.
Avoid restrictions, for example overhead bridges. Tunnels or level crossings may be dangerous for long vehicles.
Plan routes in consultation with drivers or their representatives, taking account of, for example the need for rest breaks and access to welfare facilities. Talk to your regular customers to ensure your drivers have access to toilets, washing facilities and rest areas.
The Highway Code recommends that drivers and riders should take a 15-minute break every two hours.
The time the journey will take
You should put controls in place to manage risks from the length of the journey. You should consider if journeys:
are short or long haul
have routine or non-routine stops
involve driving and stopping when it is dark
involve long working hours
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.
When thinking about the locations your drivers and riders are visiting, check:
whether instructions and signage are clear and in a form they understand
parking and layover arrangements
traffic management arrangements at the destination premises (including manoeuvring, arriving and departing)
that vehicles and people are separated effectively
You should communicate with sites your workers are visiting.
Don’t rely on in-vehicle navigation systems, as the map data may not be up to date.
Work schedules and timing
Calculate journey times to allow safe driving and riding, within the speed limit. Consider traffic, red lights, road types and conditions when you are calculating how long a journey will take.
Make sure your company policy does not put riders and drivers under pressure and encourage them to take unnecessary risks, for example to exceed safe speeds because of agreed arrival times.
Journey times should allow enough time at pick-up and drop-off to complete administrative and customer-facing tasks.
Consider when riders and drivers are most likely to feel fatigued when planning work schedules. Sleep-related incidents are most likely between 2 am and 6 am and 2 pm and 4 pm. Make it clear to drivers and riders that they shouldn’t drive if they feel sleepy, even if this upsets delivery schedules.
If riders or drivers work long, irregular hours, assess the dangers of them driving home when they are excessively tired. Make sure drivers or riders are not being asked to work exceptionally long hours. Consider overnight stays to manage any risks.
Fit tachographs to vehicles where appropriate and check them regularly. Download your drivers’ data regularly, store it as required, and analyse it to make sure drivers are following the rules on how many hours you can drive and the breaks you must take.
Allow drivers and riders enough time to safely deliver or collect loads, including safely securing loads before departure.
If you use an app to provide work, it should allow breaks to be built in.
Poor weather conditions
Vehicles should be properly equipped to operate in poor weather conditions such as snow, ice and high winds. For example they could be fitted with winter tyres and with the correct windscreen washer fluid for freezing conditions.
Drivers and riders should understand what to do to reduce risk, for example drivers of high-sided vehicles should take extra care if they are driving in strong winds with a light load.
Don’t pressure drivers and riders to complete journeys where weather conditions are exceptionally difficult, particularly vulnerable road users and riders of two-wheeled vehicles.
Support drivers and riders if they need to cancel a journey because of the weather conditions.
Competence and capabilities
You must assess workers’ health and safety capabilities and competence.
Consider the following about your workers when doing your risk assessment, choosing workers or allocating work:
experience, attitude, maturity, driving record, physical fitness, language barriers
physical capabilities – ability, age, sensory impairment, mental health, and general health
vulnerable workers, for example young workers, workers who are new to the job or new to the task, inexperienced or trainee drivers and riders
the skill and expertise required to do the job safely and making sure they are met
any driving or riding offences
ensuring safe behaviours on the road
ensuring licences, insurance, and MOTs are legal and up to date
It is important to make drivers and riders aware of company policy on work-related road safety. You could use:
written instructions and guidance
group meetings including toolbox talks
You must make sure workers are adequately trained at no cost to them. Consider:
giving priority to those at highest risk, for example drivers or riders with high annual mileage, poor accident records, or vulnerable workers
whether drivers and riders need extra training to carry out their duties safely, such as using defensive driving techniques, or how to load and unload safely
whether drivers and riders understand how and when to use in-vehicle and additional technology
training about other road users, for example cyclists, motorcyclists and pedestrians
if drivers and riders need training on how to assess risks while they are on the road
how to assess training needs periodically, including refresher training
whether your workers need advanced driver training
the benefits of your drivers and riders holding a full driving licence for powered two-wheelers
how to ensure your training providers are competent
Induction training should cover issues like:
violence, crime and assault – how to stay safe and how to report it
incident and near miss reporting, as well as confidential health and safety reporting
what personal protective equipment (PPE) should be worn, how to maintain it and when it needs to be replaced
commitment to driving and riding within the law
breaks and rest periods
company policy on, for example working hours, safe use of multi-apping
drivers and riders doing daily vehicle safety checks to make sure that their vehicle is safe to use. This is especially important for drivers and riders that travel long distances
safety measures around the loading of vehicles (load security) and backpacks (especially on two wheelers)
manual handling techniques
safe use of mobile phones/apps
Instructions for drivers and riders on keeping safe
Give drivers and riders clear instructions on keeping safe. Make sure they understand how to:
carry out routine safety checks, such as those on lights, tyres, and wheel fixings, and report any faults
correctly adjust safety equipment, for example seat belts and head restraints
ensure they are safe if their vehicle breaks down, for example to use safety warning triangles and high-visibility jackets
act if the load in or on their vehicle moves during the journey, for example to pull over in a safe place as soon as possible, avoiding any harsh braking or steering, and contact you for advice
Also consider the following points:
do not put drivers and riders under pressure to meet delivery targets, as this could encourage poor driving practices including speeding
remind riders and drivers they must not drive under the influence of drink or drugs, including prescription drugs if they could affect the ability to drive or ride
check whether drivers and riders are aware of the height of their vehicle, laden and empty. You may need to provide equipment so they can check the height before setting off
check whether drivers and riders are aware of how to secure loads and ensure that their vehicle is not overloaded or unstable
provide drivers and riders with guidance on other risks, for example slips and trips or falls from height
make sure crash helmets and protective clothing for riders of two-wheelers are of the appropriate standard