Driver health

Driver health

 

The health of a driver can have an impact on their ability to perform their job safely, and equally driving for work can have an adverse impact on your employee's health. Health conditions can be short term such as a cold or hay fever or can be much longer term, and as such, have a bigger impact, such as epilepsy. Having a health condition does not generally mean that your workers cannot drive for work, but as an employer you must be aware of any health conditions that could impact on the safe use of a vehicle, and take steps to manage the risk.

Medication

A worker's fitness to drive can be affected by many factors, sometimes it's not the health condition itself, but the treatment provided that has an impact on the ability to drive. For example using certain medications for hayfever or pain management can cause drowsiness and many medicines have a warning not to drive or operate machinery. Your workers should ask either their GP or pharmacist if there are alternative medicines that might be better when maintaining their concentration and ability to drive whilst at work.

General Health

A skilled driver also needs to be physically and mentally healthy in order to be able to drive safely. Drivers are sometimes unseen in a workplace as they are out on the road and unfortunately it is often harder for drivers to access healthy food and drink options, to exercise and take suitable breaks. Over time this can have a bad impact on the health of your drivers. Employers and their workers should work together to promote good physical and emotional health wellbeing amongst drivers.

Go to our health improvement pages​​​

Notifying the DVLA

Some medical conditions or disability, both physical and mental, are 'notifiable' by the driver to the Driver & Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA). The DVLA sets out the minimum medical standards and rules for drivers, including conditions that must be reported (external site).

It is important that the driver and their employer talk about any health condition that could impact on driving, whether they are reportable or not, as you may need to make adjustments to a driver's work activities (short or long term), long before a health condition would be notifiable to the DVLA. Common health conditions that may have an impact on a workers ability to drive include

  • colds and flu, hay fever, allergies etc
  • deteriorating eyesight
  • migraine headaches
  • stress
  • back pain, neck stiffness or lower/upper limb problems (known as musculo-skeletal problems)
  • diabetes
  • physical health issues
  • epilepsy
  • multiple sclerosis
  • heart conditions.

Pregnancy

Pregnancy is not a form of ill health. A risk assessment during pregnancy, in consultation with the worker, may determine that it is best to alter some job tasks and driving may be an activity that is adjusted as the pregnancy progresses. The driver's other work duties and their position in relation to the steering wheel and airbag should be considered and it is important that seat belts are worn correctly. Pregnancy does not exempt women from the requirement to wear a seatbelt. You may want to download the leaflet, 'Buckle Up For Baby and You' (external download).

Driver fitness assessment

Where driving is a significant component of your employee's job role, a Drivers Health Assessment helps to ensure that they are fit for driving and that any existing health conditions of medications are not likely to put them, their passengers or other road users and pedestrians at risk.

A Drivers Health Assessment could be carried out by a health professional and should include, (but is not limited to)

  • a health questionnaire
  • eye sight test
  • blood pressure check
  • height and weight check
  • an audiology hearing test (if indicated).

You can find out more about driver fitness in the ROSPA guidance on fitness to drive (external site).

Some drivers will require more specific driver health assessments, as part of their job role if your employee operates, for example a Forklift Truck or Large Good Vehicles (LGV) and Passenger Carrying Vehicles (PCV).

HSE provide information for medical professionals (external site) on medical standards for drivers at work.

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