Dust Health and Safety Hazards – What You Need to Know
According to a report provided by UK Logistics, the amount of truck drivers actively working in the UK dwindled significantly in the first quarter of 2022. The number of HGV drivers in employment was “estimated to have fallen by 30,300”. The reason? HGV truck drivers were becoming unsatisfied with the support that they were receiving from employers.
In response to the dire situation, £20 million was allocated to bettering roadside facilities. Such action was taken to improve working conditions and retain HGV drivers.
The events that occurred in early 2022 highlight the importance of protecting the welfare of HGV drivers. Taking care of their health and safety is one way to do that. The HSE provides some good advice for managers/employers to help them ensure that the needs of their HGV drivers are seen to.
Keep an eye out for HSE insights into some of the hidden hazards that could pose a threat to HGV driver safety.
What managers/employers can do to look after their drivers health and safety:
Before you let your drivers get on the road, make sure that they are fit to drive and have medical certificates required by law*.*
Being fit to drive includes:
Encourage drivers to report any health concerns that could hinder their ability to work safely. If a driver is uncertain whether a medicine they are taking will have a negative effect on them or not, they should consult their GP.
Potential Hazards For HGV Drivers:
Workers need to be aware of how dangerous fatigue can be and what to do if they start to feel sleepy. Tiredness increases reaction time and reduces vigilance, alertness, and concentration, which impairs your ability to drive. It can also affect how fast you process information and the quality of your decision-making.
The HSE states that drivers and riders are most likely to suffer from fatigue:
Being a truck driver is not an easy job to have. Long hours on the road, traffic and unexpected challenges can all have an impact on a driver’s stress levels and mental health.
Just as a safety risk may not be the most obvious to someone who isn’t looking for it, an employee’s poor mental health could go unnoticed by an employer. The reality is that employers have a legal duty to protect workers from stress at work. One way this can be done is by doing a risk assessment and putting a health and safety plan in place.
Think about the effects that bad posture can have on a HGV driver.
The National Library of Medicine (NIH) comments on the the potential dangers by stating, “Prolonged continuous sitting and long working hours make drivers more susceptible to abnormal or poor postures, which, in turn, can be influenced by ergonomic mismatches of the driving area, including seat comfort and design, causing undue stress on the spine.” This in turn can lead to more serious conditions and puts HGV drivers at risk for MSK (musculoskeletal) disorders.
How can an employer make good use of this knowledge? The first step starts with the purchase or leasing of a vehicle. Take ergonomic considerations into account. Are the controls easily accessible? Can the driver seat be adjusted?
Employees will need to be well-informed as to what good posture is and what guidelines they should follow to be considered as driving safely. Where appropriate, training can be provided.
What You Do To Protect Your HGV Drivers Matters
Your efforts as an employer to learn about and implement the correct health and safety measures won’t go unnoticed. Workers in your organisation will benefit from the attention they receive and as a whole your business continues to flourish.