5. Make sure vehicles used to drive or ride for work are safe

You should make sure any vehicle used for your business is safe and remains safe (‘safe vehicle’).

Choose the right vehicle for your work

When you buy new vehicles, research which ones are most suitable for your operations.

Think about any issues you have with vehicles and speak to manufacturers about whether you can design those out.

Make sure your vehicles have driver aids and other safety devices where appropriate, for example reversing alarms, camera systems, proximity sensors or side protection bars for lorries or HGVs to protect cyclists. Assess the age and condition of the vehicle.

Certain vehicles are safer than others, particularly at different times of the day or year and in different conditions. Consider this when you plan and distribute work. For example, use cars rather than two-wheelers during bad weather.

If your company uses autonomous vehicles, you must plan how you use them. Drivers need to be competent to operate them, and aware of their role in the vehicle.

Managing vehicle safety

You should make sure that workers use vehicles safely. Make sure they:

  • understand you have a clear policy that unsafe vehicles should not be driven
  • use seatbelts when legally required
  • do not overload vehicles. This is particularly important when using vans carrying a range of equipment or loads
  • have appropriate arrangements in place for properly securing loads, such as goods and equipment

Make sure that privately owned vehicles used for work purposes are safe. Workers must do checks on their vehicles, have them serviced and have insurance and a valid MOT.

Maintain vehicles in a safe and fit condition

Make sure vehicles are safe to go on the road, by making sure:

  • workers carry out and record daily vehicle checks and take any actions needed
  • planned and preventive maintenance is carried out in accordance with manufacturers’ recommendations. An MOT certificate only covers basic defects and does not guarantee that a vehicle is safe
  • workers inspect tyres and windscreen wipers regularly and you replace them when needed
  • you have procedures for reporting defects
  • defects are remedied promptly
  • maintenance and repairs are carried out to an acceptable standard
  • you have a clear policy that unsafe vehicles should not be driven
  • headboards and bulkheads in vehicles and trailers are fitted to protect the driver and any passengers in the vehicle. They should be fit for purpose and checked regularly to make sure they haven’t been damaged
  • you and your workers are aware of hazards from electric and hybrid vehicles and what to do if involved in an incident on the road, for example the fire risks posed by battery damage in a collision
  • workers keep cabs tidy

Riders of two-wheelers

People are most likely to be killed or seriously injured on the roads while riding powered two-wheelers (including motorcycles, mopeds and scooters) or bicycles. They are also disproportionately likely to be involved in a collision which kills or seriously injures a person walking or cycling. So, these need a robust risk management approach when used on the road.

Consider the following for powered two-wheelers and bicycles:

  • If you could use or encourage riders to use safer transport modes in bad weather, which presents a great risk to riders
  • Make sure riders are adequately trained and have the skills to ride safely
  • Assess loads workers are carrying and whether they destabilise the vehicle and are fastened securely
  • Provide hands-free options for operating navigation systems and other apps required for work
  • Provide job-specific personal protective clothing

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