Medical Standards for Drivers
There is detailed advice on medical standards of fitness to drive in ‘At a Glance’ link to external website published by the Drivers Medical Unit of the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Authority (DVLA), these include:
Group 1 (holders of ordinary driving licence); and
Group 2 (heavy goods vehicle (HGV) and public service vehicle (PSV) licence holders).
For most work, a standard equivalent to Group 1 will be appropriate. In some cases, however, a more stringent standard may be required, for example when:
moving highly toxic or explosive materials;
working in a particularly demanding environment;
working at night; or
operating large, heavy vehicles.
In these instances some or all of the medical standards equivalent to Group 2 may be appropriate.
Assessing fitness individually should help ensure that people with disabilities are not disadvantaged. Some people with disabilities have developed compensatory skills. Reasonable adjustment to work equipment may enable a disabled person to operate workplace transport safely. However, you must always think about their competence in an emergency. The Equality Act 2010 is likely to apply.
Frequency of Assessment
In line with DVLA requirements we recommend screening all existing and potential workplace transport operators for fitness before employment and at five-yearly intervals from age 45. Group 2 licences are renewable five-yearly from age 45 and, where an individual is both a workplace transport operator and holds a Group 2 licence, these assessments can be undertaken at the same examination. A workplace transport operator who continues after age 65 should have annual assessments for fitness. We recommend assessment after an absence of more than one month or after a shorter absence if it is likely that the illness has affected the worker’s fitness to operate workplace transport. This provides positive confirmation of fitness to operate workplace transport in these circumstances. If a GP signs a worker off as fit to return to work, this may not be the same as fitness to operate workplace transport. We also recommend assessment if workplace transport operators, or their employers, suspect that they have developed a condition which may affect their continuing ability to operate workplace transport.
Fork Lift Truck Operators
It is not a legal requirement to carry out these assessments but it is good practice. HSE guidance recommends that it is good practice for all operators to be screened for fitness:
- prior to employment or training
- on reaching age 40 and then 5 yearly
- on reaching age 65 and then annually
Assessment is also recommended:
- In all cases following an accident
- Following sickness absence of more than one month, or a shorter period if it is likely that the illness might affect the individual’s ability to operate a fork lift truck
- If an employer or operator becomes aware of a condition that may affect an individual’s fitness to operate a fork lift truck. Where abnormalities are detected, a risk assessment will be undertaken to determine whether:
- a temporary fitness certificate will be issued to allow the individual the opportunity to take action to manage the abnormality. E.g. Raised blood pressure readings may be investigated further by the GP and managed as clinically indicated
- an ‘unfit’ certificate will be issued until evidence has been obtained that the individual has managed the abnormality. E.g. vision screening identifies poor vision which requires corrective lenses to be worn. The individual would not be fit until they have been prescribed and are wearing the corrective lenses.
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