Shining the spotlight on driver health and wellbeing

Shining the spotlight on driver health and wellbeing

In the transport sector, our focus is so often on efficiency – how we cut costs, streamline logistics, and build greener businesses.

All important areas to consider, of course.

But what impact is this having on the health and wellbeing of the individuals behind the wheel? In this blog I would like to highlight the real challenges our drivers face and explore some solutions to enhance their working conditions.

Driver health and wellbeing are multifaceted issues influenced by long hours, irregular schedules, and the sedentary nature of the job. These factors contribute to significant physical and mental health risks, including musculoskeletal disorders, cardiovascular diseases, and increased levels of stress and anxiety. Moreover, the solitary nature of driving can exacerbate feelings of isolation and loneliness, impacting mental health.

Despite these concerns, the current industry landscape reveals a concerning trend: a lack of comprehensive health-related policies within the sector. While safety protocols for operating vehicles are stringent, the holistic health of drivers often lags in priority, which can lead to the increased absenteeism and higher turnover rates that the sector has witnessed in recent years.

The good news is, there are some excellent solutions that can help our industry to do better. Here are a few things that operators might want to consider:

Regular health screenings and programmes – Organisations should implement regular health screenings and support programmes tailored to the needs of drivers. These initiatives could include ergonomic assessments, cardiovascular health screenings, and mental health resources, ensuring early intervention and support. At FORS we’ve just introduced a new partnership with BUPAthat offers health and wellbeing bundles, to support our operators in implementing these programmes.

Improved scheduling practices– By re-evaluating scheduling practices, operators can ensure that drivers have adequate rest between shifts, reducing the risk of fatigue-related incidents and improving overall health outcomes. Implementing predictable schedules can help drivers manage stress and plan for regular physical activities.

Vehicle enhancements – Investing in ergonomic features for vehicles can significantly reduce the physical strain on drivers. Features like adjustable seating, steering wheels, and better lumbar support can make a substantial difference in preventing musculoskeletal issues. Recently, we have seen exciting high-tech solutions coming onto the market. Our partner, Seeing Machines, offers an in-cab solution that alerts drivers to signs of fatigue, letting them know when it’s time to take a break.

Creating a culture of wellbeing– Encouraging a workplace culture that prioritises wellbeing is essential. I personally try to lead by example on this within FORS; I reserve time in my diary to do something for my physical and mental health – be it a walk, a swim, or just some time to switch off – and encourage others to do the same. It’s important that management are trained to recognise signs of physical and mental distress and foster an environment where drivers feel comfortable seeking help.

At FORS, we understand that addressing driver health and wellbeing requires a collaborative approach. Our certification scheme not only sets high standards for operational efficiency but also for the health and safety practices affecting drivers. FORS provides operators with access to training modules, resources, and guidance designed to improve health management within fleets.

Enhancing driver wellbeing is not merely an ethical imperative – it’s a strategic investment in the sustainability of the transport sector. By prioritising health, operators can enjoy reduced costs, lower turnover, and a more motivated workforce. As a mouthpiece for the industry, FORS remains committed to leading by example and supporting our accredited operators in fostering an environment where driver health is placed at the forefront of operational strategies.