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Work Related Driving Accidents

It is estimated that one third of all road traffic accidents involve someone who was at work at the time. This means that someone driving on company business is more likely to be involved in an accident than other road users. Nevertheless, whether they are on-site or on the road, employers have a duty of care towards their staff. So if a member of staff does suffer a work related driving accident, it may be that an employer has neglected their legal responsibilities.

Driving at Work

Employers have a duty of care towards employees while they are at work. This not only involves when staff who are on-site in the office or the warehouse, but also those who are out on the road fulfilling work-related duties. Indeed, individuals driving for company business are considered to be in a work activity, and thus are regarded to be within a place of work. This includes drivers and riders of motorbikes and bicycles, and covers employees whose full-time job is driving as well as those who only drive occasionally or for short distances.

The law does not, however, apply to people commuting to work. The exception to this is if someone must travel from their home to a location that is not their normal place of work. For example, if an employee has a meeting outside the office he/she may travel straight from their own home in the morning without going to the workplace first.

Evaluating Road Safety at Work

Therefore employers must remember that health and safety law applies to all work-related activities, including driving (be it in a place of work such as a factory or on the road). This means that work related driving must be effectively managed with risk assessments, a tool all employers must use in order to identity risks and hazards in the workplace. It is not enough for an employer to simply comply with road traffic law requirements (such as valid MOTs and licences) although obviously these must be adhered to as well.

When carrying out a risk assessment to evaluate work-related road safety, factors that should be considered include:-

  • Driver competency;
  • The provision of appropriate training;
  • Ensuring drivers are fit and healthy;
  • Providing vehicles which are suitable;
  • Regularly checking vehicles are in a safe condition;
  • Organising feasible work schedules ie. to prevent drivers from becoming over-tired or travelling unreasonable distances;
  • Weather conditions ie. whether it is safe to drive in certain conditions.

Such risk assessments are a legal requirement for all employers. Should the company employ five members of staff or more, the findings of a risk assessment must also be recorded and shared with the entire team. Risk assessments should also be performed on a regular basis, ensuring the workplace remains a safe environment.

Driving Accidents at Work What Action Can You Take?

Despite an employer's legal duty to protect their staff when they are working, Work Accident Solicitors deal with many work related driving accidents every year. Such accidents commonly arise due to:-

  • Drivers being over-tired;
  • Vehicles being in poor repair;
  • Fork-lift accidents;
  • Poor levels of training and/or supervision.

If you have suffered as a result of a work related driving accident, and you believe blame for this accident lies elsewhere, you need to speak to a solicitor without delay. After listening to the particulars of your case, a legal expert will be able to provide more information on the best possible course of action. This could involve making a work accident claim which, if successful, would allow you to claim compensation for the injuries you have sustained.

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