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Is it time to take driver health more seriously?

According to the Movember Foundation charity, one man dies every hour from prostate cancer in the UK. Over the past 13 years, Movember has given men’s health some serious attention. Across the world, men grow a moustache in November to help raise awareness of some of the biggest men’s health problems, including prostate and testicular cancer and mental health.

Is it time to take driver health more seriously? Movember

In the UK HSE’s Go Home Healthy campaign encourages employers to start giving health issues at work much more focus.

As a responsible employer, how can you help your male staff to reduce health risks and improve their health outcomes, especially your commercial drivers or drivers of workplace transport? Key to improving driver health is earlier prevention. It’s more cost-effective than trying to intervene when someone’s already suffering from more serious ill health.

1. Regularly assess fitness to drive or operate workplace transport

HSE recommends that to be in line with DVLA requirements, you screen existing and potential workplace transport operators for fitness before employment and every five years, after drivers reach 45. Any requirements for medical screening or assessments are usually agreed between the employer and employee and included in written contracts of employment. For most work, a standard equivalent to Group 1 will be appropriate. But, a more stringent standard may be required, for example when

  • moving highly toxic or explosive materials;
  • working in a particularly demanding environment;
  • working at night; or
  • operating large, heavy vehicles.

Group 2 licences are renewable five-yearly from age 45 and, where an employee is both a workplace transport operator and holds a Group 2 licence, assessments can be made together. A workplace transport operator who continues after age 65 should be re-assessed every year. HSE also recommends assessment after an absence of more than a month or after a shorter absence if the illness might have affected the worker’s fitness to operate workplace transport. If individuals suspect that they’ve developed a condition which may affect their continuing ability to operate workplace transport, re-assessment is also worthwhile.

2. Encourage commercial drivers to access health services early

According to The Men’s Health Forum, men are far less likely than women to use a general practice or visit a pharmacy and are less likely than women to acknowledge illness or to seek help when sick. Men behave as if they are unconcerned about their health. There’s a tendency to play down or see potentially serious symptoms as simply a sign of growing older. Fear about the potential loss of masculinity means men are generally more fearful of being open or honest about reporting symptoms and accepting interventions, or being open about feelings and insecurities associated with particular illnesses.

Risk-taking behaviour is generally more common among men. A King’s Fund study that looked at smoking, drinking, diet and exercise found that men were more likely than women to participate in a combination of three or four risky behaviours, with unskilled men most likely to participate overall.

Encourage your drivers to visit their GP if they are feeling unwell and provide support and training where appropriate to support changes in behaviour.

3. Offer Health Insurance

Healthcare insurance provision for employees is an option offered in a growing number of haulage companies large and small. Many businesses recognise it’s a valuable investment in staff, as well as a benefit appreciated by employees. Whether you require group cover, cash plans for employees or individual healthcare policies, our advisers will provide appropriate advice and suggest a solution that fully meets your healthcare insurance needs as an employer and helps your staff access health services more quickly.

At Andrew Bourne and Company, we’ll take the time to understand your business requirements and then advise you on the most relevant policy. When you take out a new policy with us, we make sure that every aspect of your commercial transport operation is reviewed and included if required; from the type of commercial haulage work you do, the size and types of vehicles you operate, the cargo being transported and the staff and drivers you employ.

If you’d like more information, or to speak to us about insurance for your commercial haulage operation, please call David Crowther on 0116 272 0770.