Road Safety Week, 18 to 24 November 2019

Our latest research has found nearly half of employers are concerned that employees who drive during the course of their work may not have adequate eyesight to do so safely.

As part of our sponsorship of Road Safety Week (18 – 24 November), we are encouraging employers to take a lead role in ensuring that their drivers can see well enough to drive.

In a survey of more than 500 HR decision makers from companies of all sizes across the UK, we discovered 45% of employers had concerns about whether their workers’ eyesight was as good as it should be for driving.

It may be a surprise to many that this figure is so high, especially as the legal requirements for driver eyesight are actually quite minimal. The law still just requires a driver to be able to read a modern number plate from a distance of 20 metres. The fact that so many employers are concerned should serve as a wake-up call.

The Road Haulage Association is supporting our campaign to encourage drivers to have regular eye tests. Chief exec Richard Burnett recently had his eyes tested at Specsavers, where the optometrist spotted the early symptoms of glaucoma. He was referred to hospital and his condition is now being monitored and treated. As his glaucoma was picked up early he has suffered no loss of vision and can continue to drive.

He said his experience showed how essential it is for everyone to have regular eye tests, especially if they drive.

Our research showed that employers are making the right moves to improve the situation, and nearly three quarters (72%) said that they offer workplace eye care to all who drive for work purposes. 17% said they offer it to some drivers and just 11% did not offer eye care to anyone driving in the course of their work.

If employers are offering eye care to the majority of drivers but are still concerned that their eyesight is not good enough, then clearly something is missing. It is not enough to just offer corporate eye care. It needs to be proactively communicated and promoted too. If employees were more aware of the risks they run by not having regular eye tests, such as potentially losing their driving license, they may be more likely to take up the benefit.

Steps such as putting up posters and information on staff noticeboards or adding details on a staff intranet, can be very effective in encouraging staff to take up their eye care benefits. A number of our customers now also engage in wellbeing days, which enable them to promote all health benefits on offer to their staff. For eye care in particular, this is an opportunity for employees to learn about the wider benefits of testing, including the optometrist being able to detect symptoms of wider health issues, such as cardiovascular disease, stroke and diabetes.