Safe vehicles

Key messages

By law, every employer must

  • make sure that work equipment (which includes vehicles) is suitable for its purpose;
  • take account of the working conditions; and
  • assess the risks to the health and safety of using chosen work equipment.

Questions to ask

Your specification for a workplace vehicle should include answers to these questions:

  • Does the driver have good all-round visibility?
  • What warning systems (such as horns and lights) are fitted?
  • Are the seat belts and restraints safe and comfortable and do they meet the needs of the job?
  • What safeguards will prevent people from coming into contact with dangerous parts of the vehicle such as power take-offs, chain drives, exposed hot exhaust pipes?
  • Can drivers get in and out of the cab safely and easily?
  • What protection is there from bad weather, extremes of temperature, dirt, dust and fumes?
  • Is there a way to prevent injury if the vehicle overturns? For example, roll protection, operator restraints or falling object protection?
  • Is there a way to prevent the vehicle from moving? For example, by applying brakes and removing the keys?
  • Is the vehicle bright enough to be seen?
  • Do the vehicle lights provide enough light for the driver to work?

The design of vehicles used on public roads has to meet specific legal standards, set out in the Road Vehicles (Construction and Use) Regulations. The overall standard of vehicles used in workplaces should be at least as good as for public roads. There are some specific supply standards dealing with mobile plant in the workplace (for example, lift trucks).

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Updated 2021-12-14