Safety expert warns of driving at work dangers

Darren Donaghy of Donaghy Safety Training.
Darren Donaghy of Donaghy Safety Training.

Employers with no Driving at Work policy are putting the lives of staff and other road users at risk, a workplace safety expert has warned.

Darren Donaghy, from Derry-Donegal-based Donaghy Safety Training, sys that, while driving is an everyday part of many workers’ lives, it exposes staff to increased work-related dangers.

He said: “Almost 25% of all road deaths in Ireland are work related. This is a stark reality and if your company does not have a Driving at Work policy, then lives are being put at unnecessary risk.”

Mr Donaghy’s comments coincide with Global Road Safety Week.

He added: ”The figures should be a wake-up call for anyone who drives as part of their job and for employers whose staff drive for work. Bus, HGV, taxi and delivery drivers can spend their entire working day behind the wheel but anyone who drives as part of his or her work duties is at risk.

“Employers have moral and legal obligations to ensure protective measures are in place to safeguard people who are exposed to the risks of the road as part of their job.”

An Institution of Occupational Safety and Health report has found that, of the 833 Irish road deaths between 2008 and 2011, 193 (23%) were linked to work.

The Road Safety Authority says that, in Ireland, people who drive for work are 40% more likely than other drivers to be involved in a collision.

In the UK, the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents estimates that between 800 and 1,000 road deaths a year are work-related.

Mr Donaghy continued: “In both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, employers must have a clear driving at work policy in place. If you do not have one in place, put one in place as soon as possible. Being proactive about reducing the risks of driving at work will protect both your workforce and your company.”

Mr Donaghy said that, while the employee is responsible for how they drive, an employer’s

policy must work to minimise all risk associated with driving for work.

He explained: “A Driving for Work policy must make staff aware of the main risks they face or create when driving for work and inform employees who drive vehicles in the course of their work of the requirement to demonstrate safe, efficient driving skills and other good road safety habits at all times.

He said policy must clearly dictate the reporting of incidents, safety surrounding breaks, and legal requirements over mobile phone use.

“Furthermore, it should clearly document that the onus is on the employer to maintain all

company vehicles in a safe, clean and roadworthy condition to ensure the maximum safety

of the drivers, occupants and other road users.

For further information on workplace safety, visit www.safety-professionals.com