Majority of employers do not offer eye care to drivers

Research by Specsavers Corporate Eyecare released today shows just 38% of employers offer eye care specifically to drivers.

In a survey of more than 500 heads of UK companies, the majority, 62%, stated they do not provide eye care specifically for employees who drive during the course of their work.

Jim Lythgow, director of strategic alliances at Specsavers Corporate Eyecare, commented: ‘Employers that don’t offer eye care to their drivers may be putting their employees and their company reputation at risk.’

Level of risk

The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (ROSPA) states that: driving is the most dangerous work activity that most people do, and it contributes to far more work-related accidental deaths and serious injuries than all other work activities.

According to ROSPA, Police road accident data shows that: every year over 500 people are killed (almost one third of all road deaths), 5,000 seriously injured and almost 40,000 slightly injured in collisions involving drivers or riders who are driving for work.

Aside from the potential physical and emotional cost of any collision, an accident could be expensive for a business and incur uninsured losses such as sick pay, temporary cover, legal expenses, lost time and increased premiums. There is also the potential damage to the company’s reputation to consider if every effort has not been taken to ensure that all risks have been suitably assessed and managed, and there is even a possibility of corporate manslaughter charges. Eye care for drivers makes sense, therefore, on individual, public and corporate levels.

The law

The Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 makes it clear that employers have a responsibility for their drivers. The act requires employers to: ‘take appropriate steps to ensure the health and safety of their employees and others who may be affected by their activities when at work. This includes the time when they are driving or riding at work, whether this is in a company or hired vehicle, or in the employee’s own vehicle.’

The employer’s duty of care refers, therefore, to all drivers, whether they are employed specifically to drive as a main part of their role, or whether they are attending an occasional meeting.

Jim Lythgow continued: ‘While many may wrongly assume that it is the individual’s responsibility alone to ensure their eyesight is adequate for driving, the HSE makes it quite clear that driving safety becomes a joint responsibility when driving for work purposes. With eye tests being so easily available and cost-effective, we would urge employers to implement an eyecare policy for all drivers.’