Driving for work

Driving is, in many cases, the most hazardous activity you will undertake whilst at work. So it is vital suitable systems are in place to ensure you are safe whilst driving for work.

We are required to manage the risk from driving for work under the Health and Safety at Work Act, the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations as well as the Road Traffic Act. Vehicles provided for work are also covered by the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations. To help you do this, health and safety standards on driving for work and workplace transport are in place.

Roles and responsibilities

Heads of Department or Section

You need to have procedures for ensuring staff who drive vehicles for University-related business are controlled. For most departments, where staff use their own vehicles, hire vehicles or are planning to drive overseas, it will be sufficient to complete the driving for work generic risk assessment, communicate it and ensure it is followed.

However, where staff are contractually required to use their vehicle for work, or when you believe the driving risk significant, you should implement formal checks to confirm staff have a valid UK driving licence and have insured their car for business use. The Record of Driver Documentation Check can be used for this purpose.

Where formal checks are required, you should carry them out regularly (no longer that 3 yearly). 

If staff are using University-owned vehicles, please refer to the section below for additional guidance.

Line managers

You need to ensure that your department's procedures are implemented in your area of responsibility and employees follow them.

You need to follow your department's driving for work risk assessment, bring it to the attention of employees and make sure they follow it.

Where required by the head of department, you should also ensure that formal checks, to confirm your staff have a valid UK driving licence and have insured their car for business use, have been carried out and recorded using the Record of Driver Documentation Check.

If the driving risk is significantly over and above every day risks, line managers should prepare a specific risk assessment. Contact a health and safety adviser for further guidance.


The law requires you to have a driving licence that is valid for driving in the UK, maintain your vehicle to a road worthy standard and have suitable insurance. If you drive your own car for work you need to be insured for business use. It is your responsibility to arrange this with your insurance company.

To drive your car for University-related business, please ensure:

  • you have a valid GB driving licence, or
  • if you have a non-GB licence that is valid for use in Great Britain. See driving in Great Britain on a non-GB licence
  • your vehicle is insured for business use - see section 1.3 financial procedural note 6 (FPN6): travel-related expenses (.pdf) (Essex users only)
  • your vehicle is roadworthy and it has passed its MOT, if applicable
  • you follow the driving for work risk assessment for your department
  • you show your line manager your driving licence and valid business insurance if required to do so. Confirm your driving record by using the share driving licence service
  • you inform your line manager of any changes to your driving licence or medical conditions reportable by law under Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA). See the Government advice on your health and driving.

If you intend to drive a vehicle overseas for work you must:

  • Research driving conditions and local laws and assess the risk.
  • If driving risks are high in the location being visited you should hire a local driver or use reputable taxis instead.
  • Ensure your licence covers you to drive in the Country you are visiting or ensure you have an appropriate driving permit.
  • Check whether the local law requires to you to carrying any additional equipment required (e.g. reflective jacket, warning triangle).

Business use insurance

You will need business use insurance if you travel to another campus and the other campus is not your normal place of work. You will need to do this even if you do not claim mileage expenses.

Having the correct insurance will cover you and any passengers in the event of a road traffic accident. If you do not have the correct insurance, the resulting costs from the accident could come back to you personally because the University is not insured to cover you for driving for work.

Note: If you use a hire car for business, the University’s insurance for hired vehicles can be used. Please contact the Insurance Officer for details of cover.

You do not need to have business use insurance if you commute to and from your normal place of work where you normally perform the duties of your employment.

See financial procedural note 6 (FPN6): travel-related expenses (.pdf) (Essex users only) for more information.

For any insurance queries please email insurance@essex.ac.uk.

Reporting work-related incidents

You must report work-related driving incidents that have caused harm to you, your passengers or to others.

The incident should be reported as soon as possible and the University's health and safety incident report form completed.

If employees cannot report personally, line managers should do it. You do not have to report incidents that occur on the way to or from your normal place of work.

Departments with University-owned vehicles 

Departments that operate University-owned vehicles must have local arrangements on how to control the risk so you can use them safely and effectively.

Those developing departmental standards need to consult with their health and safety adviser and should ensure the standard cover:

  • authorising the use of a University-owned vehicle
  • carrying out driver training and/or competency checks
  • ensuring appropriate standards of behaviour are upheld
  • driving licence checks (staff should have six points or fewer on their licence if they are driving on the University insurance policy)
  • ensuring the vehicle is suitable for intended use
  • checking the vehicle's road worthiness (including pre-use driver checks)
  • arrangements for servicing and MOTs

Further guidance is in the HSE guidance on workplace transport. It is also recommended that those developing departmental standards consult with their link health and safety adviser.

Workplace transport

Workplace transport covers the use of any vehicle or mobile equipment on the University’s campuses. In covers the following areas:

Safe site

  • Layout of the workplace, for example traffic routes and their maintenance, the positioning and design of pedestrian crossing points, lighting and signage. The main aim of any site design should be the segregation of vehicles from pedestrians.
  • Vehicle movements and activities such as reversing operations, coupling and uncoupling, loading and unloading, tipping and sheeting.

Safe vehicle

This covers identifying and choosing the most appropriate vehicle for the tasks and environment and the people who will use it, as well as how it will be maintained.

Safe driver

This covers the competence and behaviour of those who operate vehicles.

  • Managers responsible for any of the above aspects of workplace transport must ensure that they have assessed and are controlling the risk. It is particularly important that there are robust controls in place where vehicle movement talks place in the vicinity of pedestrians (staff, students and visitors). Reference should be made to the HSE guide to workplace transport safety and HSE Workplace Transport Checklist. Advice should also be sought from your lead health and safety adviser.
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Workplace Health, Safety and Wellbeing
Telephone: 01206 872944