Venson Automotive Solutions has launched a new white paper that underlines the need for employers to consider stress and mental health as a key focus of their driver safety policy.
Available online, the ‘It’s good to talk: caring about mental health’ looks at the causes and symptoms of stress, in relation to driving behaviour at work and dealing with productivity demands and increasing workloads.
This includes highlighting the fact that employees suffering from stress are 50% more likely to drive dangerously. 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, according to the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA).
The paper launches as the subject of mental health increasingly comes under focus, including for fleet drivers.
A recent Fleet World feature on mental health highlighted how a survey carried out by Mercedes-Benz Vans to support the Mental Health Foundation’s recent Mental Health Awareness Week found more than half (56%) of van drivers and owners still say there is a stigma attached to discussing mental health at work. Among the reasons for this was that fears over job security and career progression made talking about mental health taboo.
Ford has also launched a national awareness campaign that encourages people to speak more openly about mental health and to find safe, non-confrontational spaces to talk. Working with mental health campaigning group Time to Change, Ford is working to “break the silence on mental health” including highlighting the need to find safe, non-confrontational spaces to talk – in this case, a Transit for its ‘Elephant in the Transit’ campaign.
Fleet operators are also being urged to play their part. RoSPA has said 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”.
“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,” explains Simon Staton, director of client management for Venson Automotive Solutions. “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.”
To download a copy of the Venson white paper, click here.