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Managing the Health and well-being of your drivers – a top priority for Fleet Managers

Ensuring the safety and well-being of drivers should be a top priority for all organisations. This includes taking measures to maintain their physical and mental health. Companies need to recognise the impact of stress and fatigue on their drivers and the associated risks. Drivers who spend most of their working hours on the road are at a higher risk of developing lifestyle-related health problems. Long hours of sitting, lack of exercise, isolation, and limited access to healthy food are all factors that can lead to unhealthy habits. This can have a significant impact on their mental and physical well-being, as well as their ability to work and drive safely.

It is essential for organisations to monitor their drivers and encourage them to report any medical condition that could affect their driving. However, stress and fatigue can be difficult to identify and address. A more focused approach is required to improve health and mental well-being.

Absenteeism and driver turnover can directly impact fleet performance, so it is important to understand drivers and look for signs of anything that could be affecting their life and work. Employing people is not just about paying a wage; it requires a more holistic approach.
Sleep deprivation is a significant factor that increases the health and safety risks associated with driving. Regular and good quality sleep is essential, as it rebalances the immune and endocrine systems. Many collisions caused by drivers can be linked to fatigue. Recent research indicates that driving tired is as dangerous as driving under the influence of alcohol. Fatigue limits people’s ability to learn and accurately interpret events. It can also affect perception, memory, attention, and response times, all of which are essential while driving.

Warning signs of sleep deprivation include increased difficulty in concentrating, yawning, and neck muscles relaxing, causing the head to droop. Micro-sleep can occur when someone sleeps for two to thirty seconds without realizing or remembering. This often happens when people are trying to stay awake and can occur especially on monotonous road environments. Lack of driver stimulation can be a contributory factor.

Organisations can take several measures to support their drivers and reduce the risk of accidents. They can have an open-door policy for drivers and take the time to talk to them, not just about work. They can also build a social support structure to help drivers maintain their mental well-being. Encouraging drivers to eat a healthier diet, providing water bottles, subsidizing exercise equipment, and implementing safe driving programs and incentives are other measures that can be taken. Equipping vehicles with warning systems that keep drivers alert, enforcing compliance with driver hours, and “buddy up” drivers who may be struggling are also important. Investing time and effort in supporting and getting to know drivers will help organizations create a better working environment and reduce their exposure to risk.




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