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Organisations should consider mental health as part of ‘safe driver’ policy

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Stress and mental health should be considered as a key focus of an organisation’s driver safety policy, says Venson Automotive Solutions.

The company has launched a white paper called It’s good to talk: caring about mental health looking at the connection between mental health and driver safety at work.

This looks at the causes and symptoms of stress, in relation to driving behaviour at work and dealing with productivity demands and increasing workloads.

Simon Staton, director of client management for Venson Automotive Solutions, said: “Managing the driver, vehicle and journey are the main areas employers need to focus on, when it comes to the safety of their drivers, but all too often mental health is overlooked.

“This white paper outlines the challenges facing businesses, and asks them to question if their drivers are sufficiently fit and healthy to drive safely and not put themselves and others at risk.”

In the white paper, Venson highlights that employees suffering from stress are 50% more likely to drive dangerously.

Mental health problems are the leading cause of absence from work in the UK, accounting for around 70 million lost work days and costing £35 billion.

The pressure of an increasingly demanding work culture, in the UK, is one of the biggest contributors to stress among the general population.

However, Venson’s white paper outlines that there are other key contributors to stress, such as financial wellbeing, relationships, moving house, bereavement or the risk of unemployment.

The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) - the risk management partner of Venson Automotive Solutions - says driving is the most dangerous work activity that most people undertake, ranking as more dangerous than working in the construction industry and being on a par with mining.

RoSPA says that employers “should include” driving for work within the scope of their stress risk assessments and the Mental Health Foundation says that with van drivers experiencing an increased rate of poor mental health “we need to create a culture in which anyone experiencing problems can ask for help in the knowledge that they will be supported”.

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