Workplace Report October 2021

Health & safety - HSE Monitor

Gig economy and ‘grey fleet’ expansion prompts road risk guide

Driving for work is likely to be the most dangerous activity most workers will ever undertake, but the gig economy and the expansion of the “grey fleet” – the increasing use of personal vehicles for work purposes – has created confusion over where responsibility for legal compliance lies, says the HSE. Along with the DfT transport department, it has published updated joint guidance on work-related road risk (WRRR) for employers and workers.

This makes clear that, while drivers and riders have an individual responsibility for their driving behaviour under road traffics laws, the organisation they work for has legal responsibility for employees’ health and safety when they’re driving for work.

According to the HSE, there are around 200 deaths and serious injuries involving people using the road for work; some 40,000 people working in occupations such as sales, deliveries or taxi-driving are involved in road traffic collisions every year; company car drivers are 49% more likely to be involved in traffic collisions, even after correcting for demographic variables and their relatively high mileages; and countless others will suffer stress, anxiety and/or minor injuries from unreported incidents.

“The shocking number of injuries and fatalities associated with driving for work demonstrates that more needs to be done to manage WRRR,” said HSE inspector Nicola Jaynes. “This updated guidance will give employers the guidance they need to ensure the safety and wellbeing of their drivers and riders.”