3. Make sure drivers and riders are safe

You should make sure that your drivers and riders are safe and healthy when they are driving or riding for work (‘safe driver or rider’).

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
  • drivers’ handbooks
  • training sessions
  • induction
  • group meetings including toolbox talks

Training

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

Distractions

Distraction is when a driver or rider’s concentration is taken away from the task of driving. Reducing or removing these from drivers and riders will significantly reduce risk.

Distractions include personal digital assistants (PDAs), notifications, apps, mobile phones, other road users, personal circumstances, the radio, and passengers.

When it comes to mobile phones, make your drivers and riders aware that:

  • using a handheld mobile phone while driving for calls, texting, web-browsing, taking photographs or videos is an offence
  • using a hands-free mobile phone increases the likelihood of a collision

Employers should:

  • have a clear policy on mobile phones – workers should not pick up phones or make or receive video calls while driving
  • provide adequate hands-free equipment if they need to communicate while driving
  • ensure drivers use hands-free mode sparingly and only when necessary

A self-employed driver or rider should ensure they comply with the law on not using hand-held mobile phones.

Violence and aggression

Assess the risk of violence and aggression towards drivers and riders and have policies and procedures in place to deal with it, including:

  • training in how to deal with violence and aggression
  • reporting systems
  • systems for tracking drivers
  • drivers regularly checking in

Health and safety responsibilities for contractors

Both you and any contractor you use have duties under health and safety and road traffic law when vehicles are used on the road.

Think about:

  • ensuring contractors are competent to do the job without risks to the health and safety of their workers and other road users
  • providing contractors with information on the risks from your activities and the controls you have in place, for example company standards and policies (aims, commitments, guidelines, resource, responsibilities, dos, and dont's) for vehicle and driver safety
  • whether you have arrangements in place to ensure contractors tell you about risks from their work
  • what arrangements you need to ensure co-operation and co-ordination to ensure everyone’s health and safety
  • what you need to do to agree any controls before work starts and to monitor the ongoing work of contractors
  • providing information and advice on long hours, fatigue and ill health

The leaflet Using contractors: A brief guide gives guidance on your health and safety duties.

Telematics

Vehicle safety monitoring technology (‘telematics’) can help you monitor whether your drivers and riders are driving safely, for example not driving erratically.