Safeguarding drivers’ physical and mental health during the pandemic

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It’s been almost a full year since the UK had to lock down for the first time in response to the spread of coronavirus COVID-19. While it’s still important to keep up rigorous hygiene protocols and maintain social distance from others, this has taken quite a toll on people’s mental wellbeing over such a prolonged period.

A recent poll found that around 40% of people revealed they had struggled with their mental health during the pandemic. As a result, employers are being urged to check in on their workers to ensure they are no issues that could affect their performance. This is especially the case for teams of drivers where full concentration on the road is paramount.

Feelings of anxiety, stress, low motivation and depression can have a serious impact on someone operating a vehicle. Employers are therefore encouraged to routinely include mental wellbeing assessments into their basic routine driver checks. They should also be sure to deal with any situations where someone may be struggling in a supportive and sympathetic way.

Keeping COVID-safe

It’s also important not to allow mental blocks to get in the way of enhanced health and safety measures. Even though extensive hygiene practices are now commonplace, it can still feel like a chore to maintain strict procedures. But of course, neglecting to disinfect surfaces or wear protective gear just once can greatly increase the risk of virus transmission, making it vital to stick to the rules every time.

To help combat the spread, the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) is inspecting businesses in the logistics and distribution sector to ensure that COVID-safe guidelines are being suitably followed. This includes driver welfare at delivery and collection sites, as well as facilities they may come across on their journeys.

Depending on the job at hand, drivers may regularly attend a particular site or briefly visit various other sites. HSE will check all appropriate sites to ensure they have suitable toilets, handwashing facilities and rest areas, all while maintaining social distancing. These checks, alongside additional advice, intend to help businesses remain COVID-secure to reduce risks where drivers are integral to keeping things moving.

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