What is a Driver Risk Assessment and Why Is It Necessary?
If you drive a vehicle at work, it is very important to perform a driver risk assessment so that you can make sure that all driving practices are being performed as safely as possible. There is road traffic legislation that imposes a number of specific requirements on employers when it comes to the use and maintenance of vehicles.
It is estimated that approximately one third of all road traffic accidents in the UK involve someone who is at work at the time. This means that it is especially important for drivers to comply with road traffic law requirements, make sure vehicles have a valid MOT certificate and hold a license. It is also important to remember that Health and Safety Law applies to activities that are performed on the road, so these risks also need to be managed.
Road accidents in the workplace can have a number of serious consequences, including loss of days due to injury, repairs to vehicles, missed orders, increased running costs and of course serious injuries and even death. When the risks of driving when working are managed correctly, employees and employers can work together to make the workplace safer for all.
Risk Assessments are the Responsibility of the Employer
The employer has the responsibility to perform risk assessments on individual drivers. This is not only a legal requirement; but it is also a moral requirement which will protect the well-being of your employees.
A Driver Risk Assessment is necessary to ensure that all drivers in the workplace are conducting their work in a healthy and safe way. The risk assessment begins by looking closely at the work procedures and identifying any potential risks that might result from them. It is important that you create a record of your observations and think about how each risk could potentially affect your employees.
The final step for the risk assessment is to figure out how you will manage each risk and make the workplace safer for your employees. The right solution will eliminate or decrease the risk, making the work easier, healthier and safer to carry out.
What Are the Factors That Contribute to Crashes and Accidents at Work
There are a number of common driver behaviours that are very high risk and contribute to a greater possibility of accidents at work. It is very important in any programme that strives to reduce crashes to understand these behaviours and avoid them.
If your drivers are working long shifts and don’t have enough time to sufficiently sleep in between, this can cause them to become seriously fatigued. This increases the risk that they will fall asleep at the wheel and cause an accident. Also, even if they do not fall asleep – their reaction rate is much slower when they are tired and groggy which also increases the risk of crashes.
The faster your employees drive the more chance they have of getting into a car crash. Also, when your employees are speeding and they get into a crash, they are more likely to be seriously injured or killed.
Another dangerous factor is distraction, such as mobile phones, music and other devices. Distraction can also be cause by other occupants of the vehicle, food, drinks, grooming accessories or even being lost in thought. To help the mobile phone should be turned off while driving or a hands-free system should be installed.
When your employees feel like they are pressured for time, they are more likely to take risks and perform behaviours that are dangerous, such as overtaking other drivers, taking tight corners, speeding and much more. This risk can be reduced by ensuring that employees never feel like they should compromise their safety for a deadline.
Climbing on Vehicles
Sometimes workers climb onto moving vehicles, which can be very dangerous. There should only be passengers on moving vehicles if it is designed to carry them safely, with the appropriate restraints and seating. Those who are climbing onto a vehicle or another structure should always follow the “three-point hold” rule, so that they have three out of four limbs on the vehicle at any given time. It is unsafe to use any other part of the vehicle that is not designed as a seat or a foothold, such as the bumper, hooks, tracks or mudguards.
How to Make Driving Safer?
So how can you ensure that your drivers are safer from accidents and crashes in the workplace? First of all, you should take the time to understand the overall risk levels of each of the drivers in your workplace. A Driver Risk Assessment will allow you to look into this closely, so that you can figure out which drivers are more at risk. This will help you to determine who needs training.
The next step is to determine which driver behaviours cause the risk for drivers. When you are making decisions, you should look into the individual risk factors for each driver. This means that instead of using a “one size fits all” approach, you can focus on the specific behaviours that are dangerous for each driver and make sure that it is monitored and dealt with accordingly.
For example, some drivers might be at risk because of low levels of confidence and others might be prone to driving aggressively when they are under stress.
The next step after identifying and understanding the drivers who are at risk and why, is to implement appropriate training programs that will help to reduce the risk. There are staying safe with vehicles e-learning, workshop, book and coaching options – so choose the right choice for your approach.
A Driver Risk Assessment is an essential step in ensuring that your drivers are safe in the workplace. Taking a close look at how the work is being carried out will help you to determine what aspects of that work are unsafe and how you can make them safer. This will be the first step along the way to a better culture of health and safety in your workplace.