Poor driver eyesight & prosecutions for employers

Jim Lythgow
Director of Strategic Alliances
Specsavers Corporate Eyecare
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It is generally understood that as an ‘at work’ activity, driving for work purposes comes within an employer’s responsibility under the Health and Safety at Work Act. In its latest ‘fit to drive’ campaign, road-safety charity Brake highlighted that an organisation may be prosecuted if a crash is proven to have resulted from lack of fitness to drive and the organisation is judged to have been negligent in preventing it.

So what could employers do to help ensure the safety of their drivers and the reputation of the business?

 

Implement an eyecare policy

This should be for all drivers, regardless of how often or how far they drive for work purposes, and should cover anyone using their car or a work vehicle for any work purpose other than commuting to and from their usual place of work.

 

Define the company’s visual standards for drivers

This in theory could equate to the basic ‘number-plate test’ but both Brake and Specsavers recommend a fuller eye examination, which takes into account more than just visual acuity (sight over distance) and includes tests for peripheral vision and contrast sensitivity.

 

Include requirements for initial and subsequent testing

Driver eyesight should be tested upon a new employee joining the organisation and as directed by the optometrist thereafter, which tends to be every two years.

 

Communicate the eyecare policy

More than just putting a policy in place, it is vital that employees are made aware of the requirement for regular testing of driver eyesight. Employee handbooks, intranets, posters and update-emails all prove popular options.

 

Make eyecare simple

Employing a simple method for employees to book their eyecare, and for HR professionals to monitor redemption, means the eyecare policy is more likely to be successful. Ensuring easy access to eyecare specialists should also be a consideration.

 

Make regular reviews of the eyecare policy

Regularly evaluating existing policies is always a good idea. Make use of experts to help give guidance. 

 

Brake’s ‘fit to drive’ report can be purchased from its online shop at www.brake.org.uk

 

For more information on eyecare at work, visit www.specsavers.co.uk/corporate

 

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