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.
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.
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 health and wellbeing amongst drivers.
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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
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.
The coronavirus pandemic may have a particular impact on those who drive. Employers should be aware of the age and health demographic of their drivers and the locations they are driving to, and ensure that risk assessments and controls to protect staff are in place. Issues that could impact on driver health include:
Where driving is a significant component of your employee's job role, a Drivers Health Assessment helps to ensure that they are “fit to drive and that any existing health conditions or medication are not likely 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)
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).
information for medical professionals (external site) on medical standards for drivers at work.
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For information on workplace health, safety and wellbeing, you can speak to one of our specialist advisors.