Introduction

Most companies are aware of the statutory need for HGV Drivers or PSV Drivers to undergo regular medical checks. However, few companies think about their other vocational drivers. A vocational driver can be classed as any employee who drives a company vehicle or a vehicle on behalf of the company, from the Managing Director down to the van drivers, sales team members and Fork Lift Truck drivers.

Fleet management (company cars and other company vehicles) is increasingly coming into focus in the health & safety arena, with an increase in driver awareness training, risk assessments and defensive driving techniques. The main gap in fleet management appears to be the lack of assessment of employees' fitness to drive. Visual impairments, undiagnosed medical conditions, medical conditions that cause sudden collapse and other medical conditions can increase the likelihood and severity of traffic accidents, both on and off site.

Legal Position

Legally, the need for drivers' medicals is implicit, rather than explicit. The Health & Safety at Work Act 1974 states that an employer is required to ensure, as far as is reasonably practical, that employees' health is not put "at risk" due to activities in the workplace. The Management of Health & Safety at Work Regulations 1999 requires that health & safety must be managed effectively, with specific requirements for risk assessment. However, there is no specific legislation at present requiring FLT & vocational drivers' health assessments, but it is implicit that management systems are required to assess & reduce risk, which would include ensuring fitness to drive standards are maintained.

Further information regarding Fork Lift Trucks is found in the following documents:

  • HSE Guidance document HSG6, Safety in Working with Fork Lift Trucks
  • ACoP L117 Rider Operated Lift Trucks

What's Involved?

In Occupational Health practice, health standards for driving company cars & FLT are based on the DVLA Guidelines This has more stringent requirements than the Group 1 category for cars & motorcycles & requires screening at the following intervals:

  • pre-training or pre-employment
  • at age 45
  • then 5 yearly assessment to age 65,
  • thereafter annually.
Should health issues be noted or arise which may affect driving, then more frequent assessment may be recommended. Driver health assessments need to be carried out on a face-to face basis. The protocol includes:
  • Specific drivers' health questionnaire
  • Vision test - with & without spectacles, to include peripheral vision
  • Colour vision test
  • Routine urine check to exclude diabetes
  • Height, weight & body mass index
  • Musculoskeletal assessment
  • Where clinically indicated, hearing test and lung function test

Each appointment takes between 20 and 30 minutes and can be carried out at your premises to avoid the disruption and inconvenience of sending employees to an off site facility. A fitness statement will be issued following attendance for the drivers' medical. This will indicate fitness to drive, any specific restrictions and finally any relevant information relating to the Equality Act 2010.

 

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