UK: updated health and safety guidance for businesses and HGV drivers

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The Senior Traffic Commissioner has issued clarifications on its latest guidelines. Carriers find answers to questions whether they can temporarily operate more vehicles than authorised under their goods vehicle operator’s licence to meet an urgent public demand; or if they can temporarily operate for hire or reward under their restricted goods vehicle operator’s licence.

Recommendations for HGV drivers

To recognise that the goods and passenger carrying industries may face significant challenges in the coming months, The Senior Traffic Commissioner of the UK has issued temporary guidance to the traffic commissioners on the way they carry out their regulatory duties during this period.

Most recent updates include:

  • clarification on requirements when a vehicle is returned to service
  • guidance for when TMs are working from home
  • a reference to online training
  • a form for use when applying for a temporary exemption
  • guidance on the temporary process for local bus service registrations


Guidance for businesses

The Health and Safety Executive of the United Kingdom has issued some updates for their Health and Safety guidelines. Businesses should take social distancing seriously and provide their employees with all possible means to be able to observe the 2-metre distance from others.

  • The Health and Safety Executive is urging business to stay open. With the exception of some non-essential shops and public venues, they are not asking any other businesses to close as it is important for businesses to carry on.
  • Employers should take every possible step to facilitate their employees working from home. Where it is not possible to work from home, employees can still travel for work purposes, provided they are not showing coronavirus symptoms and neither they nor anybody of their household is self-isolating.
  • Employers who have people in their offices or onsite should ensure that employees are able, where possible, to follow Public Health England guidelines on social distancing (including, where possible, maintaining a 2-metre distance from others), and hygiene (washing their hands with soap and water often for at least 20 seconds). Follow government guidance on how to keep your employees safe.

In-work activity

  • All workers are encouraged to keep working and should be working from home if they can.
  • Employees should travel to work only if they absolutely cannot work from home. 
  • If employees are travelling to their workplace, they still need to keep social distancing guidance whilst they are travelling, as far as is practical. Social distancing means staying 2 metres (6ft) apart from other people.
  • In their workplace, employees need to observe, where possible, social distancing guidance.

Social distancing

Whenever the Health and Safety Executive identifies employers who are not taking action to comply with the relevant guidance to control public health risks, eg employers not taking appropriate action to socially distance or ensure workers in the shielded category can follow the NHS advice to self-isolate for the period specified, they will consider taking a range of actions to improve control of workplace risks. These actions include the provision of specific advice to employers through to issuing enforcement notices to help secure improvements with PHE guidance.

Photo: GoToVan / Wikimedia Commons