The mental stress and strain of life behind the wheel of a truck has been coming to the fore of late, as transport bosses begin to ponder exactly why they are having so much trouble attracting young drivers to the industry.
It’s reckoned the UK is currently short of 90,000 truckers at present as youngsters are getting increasingly picky about what they are prepared to put up with at work.
Now, to protect Britain’s truckers from work-related stress, a Health and Safety Executive (HSE) campaign is set to target HGV drivers and their bosses.
Working with the Road Haulage Association (RHA), the ‘Working Minds’ campaign aims to promote good mental health.
Long hours away from home, demanding delivery times and limited access to toilets and showers are common causes of stress for drivers, says the HSE.
The campaign enables drivers, when safe to do so, to text ‘BeAMate’ for free confidential health support 24/7 – a service provided by Working Minds campaign partner, Mates in Mind.
Elizabeth Goodwill, from the HSE’s stress and mental health policy team, said:
HGV drivers keep the country and our economy moving. It’s therefore vital that employers meet their legal duty to ensure risks of stress and mental ill health are factored into risk assessments. Initiatives such as ‘BeAMate’ are helpful for people needing individual help, but we would like to see more focus on preventing work-related stress at an organisational level, to stop it developing into poor mental health. We look forward to working with the Road Haulage Association and Mates in Mind to provide employers with the help they need to protect and support drivers.”
Driving an HGV and its cargo naturally comes with pressure. However, that does not mean the simple steps in our ‘5R’s’ (Reach out>Recognise>Respond>Reflect>make it Routine) can’t be followed. Problems arise when there is excessive pressure workers are unable to cope with.
Laura Taylor, HR director at the RHA, added:
We recognise that our employees’ mental health wellbeing is not just a personal concern to them but a vital component of our collective success as an organisation. Therefore, supporting mental health is not just a token initiative for us but a commitment to nurturing an environment where all employees feel valued, understood and empowered.
HSE and the Working Minds campaign warns that the scale of work-related stress across the economy has increased in recent years. Stress, depression or anxiety is now the number one cause of work-related ill-health in Great Britain.
Within the transportation and storage sector, which includes road haulage, around four in 10 cases of work-related ill-health are due to stress, depression or anxiety.
The warning that HGV drivers are less likely to say they are struggling, combined with what we know about the rise of work-related stress across the economy, mean it’s crucial these workers have support in place.
To use the service, text ‘BeAMate’ to 85258 and trained volunteers can help with issues including anxiety, stress, loneliness or depression and are available 24/7