Safer cycling for work

In Alarm’s Member journal Public RM (Summer 2017) Philip Farrar, National Development Director and Adrian Bloor, UK Claims Director at Risk Management Partners Ltd discuss bicycle use for business.

Cycling is beneficial for both the environment and personal health, however for employers, employee safety is paramount. Equally, those employees cycling as part of their employment are strongly advised to consider their own personal safety.

A bicycle being used by an employee as part of his/her employment would be considered work equipment and subject to the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations (PUWER) 1998. An employer needs to consider and provide personal protective equipment. In addition to carrying out risk assessments on cycles for business use and the suitability of the bicycle user, under PUWER, the employer must ensure any bicycle complies with the regulations. Go to Summer 2017 Public RM on the Alarm website for more on PUWER.

Some local authorities have made mandatory safety conditions for employees using their bicycles on council business:

1. Observe the Highway Code.

2. Provide and use front and back lights during hours of darkness or poor visibility, and a back reflector; all conforming to recognised safety standards.

3. Ensure the bicycle and associated equipment are in a safe and roadworthy condition.

4. Provide and wear high visibility clothing: a fluorescent and/or reflective bib or cross-belt as a minimum.

5. While some councils have stated that all employees who use their bicycle on business are strongly advised to wear a cycling helmet (conforming to recognised safety standards) others have made the use of helmets mandatory. Some employers offer helmets and safety vests and advise them to be worn at all times.

There are still too many avoidable road accidents relating to those travelling on behalf of their employer. While the efficacy of occupational road risk controls is still in debate, there has been much research into the subject, most relating to how we most effectively influence behaviour change in road users. Consistent communication and sustained reminders targeted at specific audiences (as opposed to generic advice open to interpretation by all road users) is part of an effective solution. This requires use of social science principles successful in other areas of public risk management such as health awareness, including drug and alcohol abuse, obesity and drink-driving. Traditionally we have not been very good at this.

We need better:
    Application of good controls and disciplines.

It will not happen overnight and those public sector bodies wishing to promote the use of bicycles within the workplace need to make sure they have a clear policy and strategy. They should know how best to keep their employees free from possible harm.

This article does not purport to be comprehensive or to give legal advice. While every effort has been made to ensure accuracy, Risk Management Partners cannot be held liable for any errors, omissions or inaccuracies contained within the article. Risk Management Partners Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Risk Management Partners Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Registered office: The Walbrook Building, 25 Walbrook, London EC4N 8AW. Registered in England and Wales. Company no. 2989025.

For more guidance on road risk go to Public RM Summer 2017 at the
Alarm website.