Working on or near a road
A number of rules and regulations apply for work in general and for road work:
- the Safety and Health Framework Directive 89/391/EEC,
- the Temporary and Mobile Construction Directive 92/57/EEC,
- the use of Personal Protective Equipment Directive 89/656/EEC, and
- the Directive 2008/96/EC on Road Infrastructure Safety Management.
More information is available in the EU report on preventing road accidents and injuries for the safety of employees:
The Safety and Health Framework Directive 89/391/EEC underlines an employer’s obligation to protect their workers. It states that they should evaluate the risks to the health and safety of their workers and take necessary control measures. It describes the general principles of the risk assessment approach to safety management.
Many other directives on safety and health at work contain requirements that apply to workers who are using vehicles or are working on or near a road. It should be underlined that risk assessments must include all activities being performed by a worker. These directives include:
Directive 92/57/EEC sets out minimum safety and health requirements for temporary or mobile construction sites, i.e. any construction site at which building or civil engineering works are carried out. It intends to prevent risks by establishing a chain of responsibility linking all involved parties. Whilst Annex I of the directive does not explicitly state that it applies to road works, several of the activities dealt with are carried out in road construction.
The Personal Protective Equipment Directive 89/656 applies to any device or appliance designed to be worn or held by an individual for protection against one or more health and safety hazards (as defined in the directive).
In addition to specific health and safety of workers legislation, there are other relevant directives, such as:
Directive 2008/96/EC26 on Road Infrastructure Safety Management deals with projects that aim to construct new road infrastructure or make substantial modifications to the existing network, thereby affecting traffic flow within the trans-European road network. The directive details that Member States are obliged to adopt guidelines on temporary safety measures applying to road works, under Article 6.
Next to the rules and regulations that apply throughout the EU there are also national rules and regulations concerning working conditions, road work procedures and road maintenance. These are normally available from the websites of the relevant national road or work authority.
Workplace transport safety
By law, every workplace must be safe for the people and vehicles using it. Likewise, traffic routes must be suitable for the people and vehicles using them (source).
The most relevant European legislation for managing workplace transport safety is the Safety and Health Framework Directive 89/391/EEC and its first individual Directive concerning the minimum safety and health requirements for the workplace (Directive 89/654/EEC).
Other important and relevant Directives dealing with workplace transport safety are:
- Directive 2009/104/EC concerning the minimum safety and health requirements for the use of work equipment;
- Directive 2006/42/EC on machinery, including self-propelled machinery;
- Directive 92/57/EEC on the implementation of minimum health and safety requirements at temporary or mobile construction sites (guide for implementing);
- Directive 92/58/EEC on the minimum requirements for the provision of health and/or safety signs at work
- Existing standards, such as ISO and CEN standards, give detailed technical information on the prevention of accidents with vehicles and machinery. For example, in the case of forklift trucks:
European directives set minimum standards for health and safety that must be transposed into law in all Member States. However, Member States can also introduce provisions that are more stringent. Since national legislation may as a consequence require higher standards, it is necessary to check this legislation.
Driving for work
The Safety and Health Framework Directive 89/391/EEC 24 underlines an employer’s obligation to protect their workers, which also applies for those workers who are professional drivers, or drive as part of their work. This directive is therefore also fundamental for safe driving for work. It states that ‘the employer shall have a duty to ensure the safety and health of workers in every aspect related to work’; this means the employer should evaluate the risks to the health and safety of their workers and take necessary control measures. This is an ongoing process and must be evaluated frequently.
Further rules and legislation that apply to anyone who drives buses and heavy commercial vehicles [trucks] for work are described by the EU Directorates-General Mobility and Transport:
‘The existing legislation applying to road transport services establishes common rules on access to the profession and to the market, sets minimal standards for working time, driving time and rest periods (including enforcement and the use of tachograph) for professional road transport, and sets minimum annual vehicle taxes, as well as common rules for tolls and user charges for heavy goods vehicle”. Moreover, it harmonises the maximum weights and dimensions of road vehicles”. The Commission also promotes more and safer parking areas along the trans-European road network.
In addition to rules and regulations that apply throughout the EU, there are also co-existing national rules and regulations concerning road traffic and road safety in general. These are the rules that set speed limits, alcohol limits and specific driver licence requirements. There may also be specific rules and procedures regarding road work, road maintenance, etc. Such rules and regulations are normally available from the websites of relevant national road and work authorities.