The following Acts of Parliament affect employers of anyone who drives at work, whether in a company vehicle or their own vehicle.
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Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007
The new act came into force on 6th April 2008 and means that both large and small companies can be held liable for manslaughter where there has been gross negligence in the management of health and safety causing death and not just for violations of health and safety.
It is concerned with the corporate liability of the organisation and does not apply to individual directors, senior managers or other individuals; however, if there is enough supporting evidence, individuals can be prosecuted for gross negligence manslaughter and any offences under health and safety legalisation.
If an organisation is found guilty of the offence, then they will be liable to an unlimited fine.
For further information on the act, please refer to the following link:
HSE Guidelines - Driving at Work
The leaflet issued in September 2003 suggests ways to manage the risk to drivers’ health and safety in compliance with the law, which is now the foundation of all activity and has to be applied by all companies. These requirements are in addition to the duties you have as an employer under road traffic law, e.g. the Road Traffic Act and Road Vehicle (Construction and Use) Regulations, which are administered by the police and other agencies such as the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency.
This leaflet is available as a download and can be found at the following link:
Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 (HSWA)
The HSWA requires any employer, manager or supervisor to ensure, as far as reasonably practicable, the health & safety of its employees (full or part time) while at work, and in particular those with responsibility for fleet management. This includes all work-related journeys and covers all drivers whether they are in company vehicles or using their own vehicles for business use. The employer also has a responsibility to ensure that others are not put at risk by work-related driving activities, which also applies to self-employed people who have a similar responsibly to that of employers.
Sections 2 and 3 of the HSWA require companies to conduct their businesses to ensure the health and safety of employees and non-employees, "so far as reasonably practicable".
If a company breaches either section 2 or 3 of HSWA and this is accountable to a director’s neglect, then he or she will be guilty of an offence under section 37 HSWA and can be disqualified from acting as a director for up to 15 years if convicted in the crown court.
HSWA Section 2 (1) states:
"It shall be the duty of every employer to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare at work of all his employees"
HSWA Section 3 (1) states:
"It shall be the duty of every employer to conduct his undertaking in such a way as to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that persons not in his employment who may be affected thereby are not thereby exposed to risks to their health or safety"
'Undertaking' refers to a company’s business. If someone drives on behalf of the company as part of that business, whether or not the vehicle is owned by the company, the activity is likely to come with the company’s undertakings.
HSWA Section 37 (1) states:
"Where an offence under any of the relevant statutory provisions committed by a body corporate is proved to have been committed with the consent or connivance of, or to have been attributable to any neglect on the part of, any director, manager, secretary or other similar officer of the body corporate or a person who was purporting to act in any such capacity, he as well as the body corporate shall be guilty of that offence and shall be liable to be proceeded against and punished accordingly"
For further information on the HSWA, please refer to the following link:
Management of Health & Safety at Work Regulations 1999 (MHSWR)
There are always risks associated with driving and although these risks can not be controlled completely, every employer still has a responsibility to take all reasonable steps to manage these risks as though they would in a workplace.
Regulation 3 of the MHSWR outlines the requirement for all companies to perform risk assessments for the heath and safety of its employees while they are at work and regulation 5 of the MHSWR sets out how to manage the risks.
For further information on the MHSWR, please refer to the following link:
Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 (PUWER)
The primary purpose of PUWER is to ensure that work equipment (including company vehicles and employees own vehicles) should not result in health and safety risks.
Employers are required to ensure that risks from equipment to people’s health and safety are prevented or controlled making it suitable for its intended use. It is also requires employers to ensure that vehicles are safe to use, regularly inspected, properly maintained and those who are driving the vehicles are fully trained and licensed.
For further information on the PUWER, please refer to the following link:
Reporting of Injuries, Disease and Dangerous Occurrences (RIDDOR)
RIDDOR is a compulsory reporting system for all work-related personal injuries and should be adopted by companies as best practice whenever drivers have been injured in a motoring incident.
For further information on the RIDDOR, please refer to the following link:
Working Time (Amendment) Regulations 2003
Working time regulations aim to improve health and safety by controlling the hours employees work. A mobile worker is entitled to adequate rest.
Regulation 24 (3) states:
"adequate rest means that a worker has regular rest periods, the duration of which are expressed in units of time and which are sufficiently long and continuous to ensure that, as a result of fatigue or other irregular working patterns, he does not cause injury to himself, to fellow workers or to others and that he does not damage his health, either in the short term or in the longer term."
Employers could be guilty of a criminal offence and will face a fine should they be found guilty of failing to take reasonable steps to ensure compliance within the working time regulations.
For further information on the Working Time Regulations, please refer to the following link:
Road Traffic Act 1988 (RTA)
The RTA preserves law’s concerning driver responsibilities and liabilities on UK roads.
If an employee has committed an offence under the Act, employers are vulnerable to prosecution of offences ranging from corporate manslaughter to aiding and abetting in the event of a serious incident.
For further information on the RTA, please refer to the following link:
Road Death Investigation Manual
The Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) manual adheres to the principle that all fatal collisions should be investigated as ‘unlawful killings’ until the contrary is proved.
The manual is designed to provide investigators with a suitable framework to ensure that the most thorough and appropriate investigation is conducted.
To find out more information and the structure of an investigation, please use the following link: