Relaxation of drivers’ hours a safety risk

The Government’s relaxation of the rules, earlier this month, for how long lorry drivers can work as a temporary fix for a severe shortage of heavy goods vehicle (HGV) operators, is compromising safety standards and is not the solution to the haulage industry shortage of HGV drivers issue.

British Safety Council believes the relaxation of these road safety laws is adding more pressure on drivers, who are already exhausted and is unreasonably jeopardising road safety. Over-tired drivers coming home from long shifts pose a real hazard to themselves and other road users.

British Safety Council believes the UK must maintain the highest standards of health and safety. The Government must not water these down when it feels it expedient. High standards of health and safety are good for business because they protect workers, corporate reputations, productivity, profitability and morale by reducing the costs associated with absenteeism, insurance claims and legal action. Any work-related death, injury or illness is one too many.

Mike Robinson, Chief Executive of the British Safety Council, said: “Driver safety must not be compromised. It is appalling that the Government has ignored the views of the logistics industry, which has collectively condemned this measure on safety grounds. We are adding our voice to this backlash and requesting the immediate withdrawal of the relaxation. 

“We believe it is a fundamental right for a worker to go home safe and healthy at the end of a working day. The Government must not be complacent about the safety of workers.”

1. The temporary relaxation of the rules will mean HGV drivers will be legally allowed to drive for an additional one hour per day, from nine to 10 hours. It will also allow drivers to undertake two eleven hour shifts per week. The temporary extension will last to 8 August 2021.

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