Lone worker communications – HGV drivers

29 November 2022

HGV drivers operate in some of the most unpleasant and stressful working conditions in the UK.

Unsociable hours, poor rest facilities and frequent nights out on the road, they work alone, without direct supervision and generally have to protect themselves. As such, under health and safety rules, they are considered lone workers and employers have specific duties to protect them.

Risks include workplace injury such as a slip, trip or fall whilst unloading, involvement in a road traffic collision or even intimidation or threat to their personal security. The latter is magnified when parked at night or operating in a remote location.

The road haulage sector employs one of the largest populations of lone workers and an employer’s duty is to ensure regular contact and an effective means of communication. Company policies generally state the actions drivers should take when something goes wrong, including making contact with management and/or the relevant authorities.

Most logistics operators have embraced some form of communication technology, whether it’s telematics, tracking or routing software, and many HGV drivers are now issued with PDAs, tablets or mobile devices. However, some operators still rely on, and expect drivers to use their personal mobile phones to maintain contact whilst on the road. In these cases, operators have no control over the serviceability of the device, no visibility of data availability or coverage, and uncertainty over the driver’s willingness to use the device for work purposes.

If you don’t provide your drivers with mobile devices, do a quick scenario test of your incident plans to check whether your lone workers are equipped to conduct your documented procedures.