Workplace Transport and an Employer’s Obligations

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) publish their data on workplace accidents every year, and being struck by a vehicle remains one of the highest causes of fatal accidents at work.

Effective control measures are essential to minimise the risks from moving vehicles in the workplace, and also to avoid prosecution for breach of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.

It should always be remembered that Health and Safety offences are concerned with failures to manage risks to health and safety. A successful prosecution does not require proof that the offence caused any actual harm. The offence is in creating a risk of harm. What that means is there doesn’t need to be any evidence of a worker being injured or harmed in order to secure a successful prosecution against a company or individual.

Individuals who are considered to be responsible for the risk and best placed to control that risk are as liable for prosecution as a company. Those individuals may be employees, directors or managers.

Breach of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 is a criminal offence and could lead to the individual receiving not only a criminal conviction, but an unlimited fine and/or 2 years imprisonment. Importantly, a duty holder may be prosecuted for more than one offence within the same case. Recent health and safety statistics show that of the 517 cases where a verdict was reached in 2017/18, the HSE secured a conviction in 493 of them (95%), and duty holders found guilty of health and safety offences in 2017/18 received fines totalling £72.6 million; an average penalty of around £147,000 per case resulting in conviction.

So, think:

  • Safe site?
  • Safe vehicle?
  • Safe driver?
  • Do you have sufficient control of your workplace transport?

If you or your company would benefit from advice in relation to the measures needed to effectively control risks from moving vehicles, or if you or company currently face an HSE investigation or prosecution, please contact Jane Anderson in our Road Transport team on transport@woodfines.co.uk