Data gathered from the Campaign Against Living Miserably shows that men account for an estimated 75 per cent of suicides annually across the UK. The male population makes up 92 per cent of professional HGV drivers, leaving the sector highly impacted by the effects of mental health problems, according to a House of Commons report.
The Age, Health and Professional Drivers Network (AHPD) – made up of AMBS academics and individuals from across the industry – has released a Best Practice Guidelines document to provide operators with information necessary to help their drivers when it comes to mental health.
Dr Sheena Johnson, occupational psychologist at AMBS, said: “Suicide rates among men are tragically high – it remains the single biggest killer of men under 45. With haulage being heavily male dominated, it’s one of the sectors exposed to the effects of poor mental health.
“The need for a best practice guide for employers and employees in the sector is an urgent one – both for the wellbeing of drivers but also the longer-term sustainability of the sector. The guidelines – relevant for drivers of all ages – also shine a spotlight on the older working age category given it is one of many industries experiencing an ageing workforce. Implementing wellbeing measures for this demographic shouldn’t be overlooked, particularly as the sector is facing recruitment challenges.”
FORS Bronze requirement ‘D6 Health and eyesight’ requires operators to have a policy and supporting procedures in place to manage a number of health issues around fitness to drive, including mental health problems such as stress, depression and anxiety. Reading the Health and Wellbeing of Older Professional Drivers Best Practice Guidelines will support operators in meeting this requirement. FORS members can also attend the free FORS Professional ‘Managing driver fitness and health’ (Practitioner workshop 3) in which delegates can learn to identify the signs and understand the causes of lack of fitness and how the develop the appropriate procedures to address them. Section 8 ‘Health, safety and wellbeing’ of the FORS Professional Effective Driver Management – An Industry Code of Practice will also help members with managing this requirement.
To download a copy of the Health and Wellbeing of Older Professional Drivers Best Practice Guidelines, click here.