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Fleet duty of care should take mental health into account, says FleetCheck

Mental health is the next key area where fleets should look make improvements in the health and safety of drivers, says FleetCheck.

Managing director Peter Golding says that with around one in four people likely to be affected by a problem of this type during their lives, it is something that employers should include in their risk management assessments.

He added: “It is already a legal obligation to inform the DVLA about a mental health problem that affects your ability to drive.

“However, as a risk management subject, mental health is potentially much more complex than this.

"If you are suffering from stress or depression, for example, it is likely that your employer would only feel the need to become involved if you are taking medication.

“There is research to show that depression can have a direct impact in areas such as concentration and reaction times, both of which have a direct effect on your suitability to be driving.

"Fleets should arguably be considering these issues and including them in their risk management strategies.”

FleetCheck is currently developing a risk management app for a client who had specified a catch-all wellbeing question for fleet drivers, designed to form part of their regular walkaround vehicle checks.

Golding said: "The app simply asks ‘do you feel fit to drive?’ This simple, but fundamental question is one that fleets, in our experience, almost never consider.

“This is certainly a question that could potentially help to highlight any underlying or emerging mental health problems from which a driver may be suffering that could compromise their abilities behind the wheel.

“As we become better at talking openly about mental health, employers should be doing more to develop policies within their risk management strategy. Across our industry, it would be good to see a greater dialogue develop about this area.”

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