While drivers are responsible for how they drive, you as an employer have duties in helping to make driving for work safer. Three sets of laws influence driving for work in Ireland:
- Road Traffic Laws: the Road Traffic Act 1961 and its later amendments influence driving on public roads in Ireland. The Gardai, sometimes in collaboration with the HSA, are responsible for enforcing road traffic laws and investigating collisions and fatalities.
- Health & Safety Laws: the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act 2005 and associated regulations influence driving for work in Ireland. Other legislation may apply, such as Dangerous Goods Transport by Road and Construction regulations.
As an employer, you should be aware that directors may be prosecuted for a work-related road collision if it is proven they have not managed safety properly. You have obligations in the following areas as an employer:
- Duty of care—you must take measures to assure that work-related journeys are safe, members of staff are able to drive safely, and all vehicles and associated equipment are fit for use. You should also be aware of your duty towards the safety of other road users and pedestrians affected by your drivers.
- Safe systems of work—you must put in place proper systems of work such as documented safe systems of work for securing vehicle loads. You must have a safety statement that identifies all possible hazards, assesses risks to your employees, and provides adequate controls to minimise risk.
- Information, instruction, and training—you should give your employees proper information and training to protect their safety, health, and welfare.
EU Rules on Driving say that you as an employer must:
- not expect employees to drive under conditions that are unsafe; this means drivers must obey the rules on driving time, breaks and rest periods and that their vehicles should be roadworthy and fit for use.
- never put pressure on a driver to complete a journey in a shorter amount of time than is needed or to use a vehicle that is not roadworthy.
- not enter into contracts with schedules that could endanger your drivers or other road users.