Last reviewed 28 May 2020
Driving for Better Business (DfBB), the Government campaign group which encourages work-related road safety, has reminded employers that their duty of care to drivers and other road users remains unchanged during the COVID-19 pandemic, whether drivers are working for emergency services, in public transport or food delivery.
Essential drivers have formed part of a vital infrastructure that has been keeping the country running but the campaign group recently warned that at a time of emergency, “intense pressure” can be put on those who drive for work.
Whether they are working for the emergency services, in public transport or food delivery, working extended hours may become more common, as drivers’ hours regulations have been temporarily relaxed for key workers.
Then, a source at DfBB says, there is the stress factor of being part of the country’s frontline battle against COVID-19.
Such stresses and anxieties may lead to detrimental driving behaviours such as speeding or using drugs to stay awake, if drivers feel under particular pressure to undertake work quickly or to work longer hours than usual.
Throughout, the duty of care which organisations hold towards drivers, and other road users, remains unchanged, DfBB recently warned.
The campaign group suggested a few points to help protect drivers’ wellbeing during the pandemic and beyond.
The onboarding processes for taking on new drivers should be as robust as they would be under normal circumstances, checking licences and competencies accordingly.
Drivers need the right training. In particular, they should be properly familiarised with the vehicles they are going to be using.
If multiple drivers are using the same vehicle, then in-depth cleaning between shifts is clearly more important than ever before.
Fatigue management procedures should be both thorough and thoughtful.
Building a strong culture around openness and communication can encourage drivers to speak up when they are feeling stress and anxiety — and this applies as much to furloughed drivers as to key workers.
Further information is available from the DfBB website.