Are you aware of the risks to health and safety for delivery drivers? Did you know that in 2020 alone in the UK, 693,000 people sustained an injury at work across all work sectors? This highlights that there is a degree of health and safety risk involved in potentially all work industries.
Accidents can happen at any time which emphasises the need to have health and safety at the forefront of your mind. Recently the demand for delivery drivers’ services has increased significantly. This is great for business and career stability. To ensure that you keep up with demand and reduce the risk of injury it is important to ensure you always follow best practices.
At Acorn Insurance, we recognise the potential risks delivery drivers face. As specialist providers of courier van insurance, we have compiled this useful guide to help you focus on possible areas of delivery driver risk including safety tips and manual handling. We would like to make clear, however, that none of the issues highlighted in this article will impact your ability to obtain insurance from us or the premium we would quote.
How are delivery drivers at risk?
- Heart conditions
How can delivery drivers take steps to improve their physical fitness?
A good place to start is by trying to manage a healthy diet. This means eating foods that will improve your overall health and will not promote sluggishness. A few of our optional top tips for maintaining your energy whilst driving are:
- Eat a healthy breakfast, such as porridge with fruit, that could give you a great start to your day and keep you going until lunchtime
- A high energy snack such as a banana or cereal bar could be a quick fix for when energy levels dip during the day
- Drink plenty of water throughout the day and try to opt for water instead of caffeinated or sugary drinks, as it will keep you hydrated throughout the day and has no calories or sugar
With most delivery drivers eating at motorway services or roadside cafes, it is often hard to maintain a balanced diet. Time pressures and lack of toilet facilities also mean that delivery drivers could often not hydrate sufficiently, and this too can lead to further health problems.
By preparing your meals beforehand and taking regular breaks you could reduce your stress levels and improve your overall fitness if you can get some light exercise on your break. A packed lunch could reduce the need to rely on overpriced motorway services too!
Getting your steps in
It may seem difficult to take regular exercise throughout the day if you have long journeys between each delivery. When giving yourself a break away from the wheel try:
- Enjoying a refreshing walk during your lunch break
- Gentle resistance exercises (bicep curls, triceps extension, shoulder press)
- Simple callisthenics at the roadside (stretches, lunges, dips)
These could all contribute to an overall improvement in your fitness, mental focus, and well-being.
Tips to help delivery drivers improve their work-life balance
Delivery drivers must manage everyday challenges just like the rest of us. From congested roads to making deliveries on time, striking a good work-life balance can sometimes be difficult to achieve. Below is a list of points worth considering if you are looking to improve your general work-life balance.
Sleep recharges the body and mind
Firstly, getting enough sleep is crucial! Sleeping allows your body to repair itself and controls the chemicals in our bodies that process information. These chemicals play a major part in how we are feeling. If you are not getting enough sleep, you could begin to feel fatigued and concentration levels can be reduced.
Drink alcohol and smoke in moderation
Secondly, if you like to drink alcohol and/or smoke try to do this in moderation, preferably during your days off only. Regular consumption of these substances can affect how fresh you feel in the morning and make it more difficult to concentrate behind the wheel. Smoking and drinking alcohol can lead to a thiamine deficiency in the body, which regulates things like memory and coordination which can therefore impact your concentration. If you have been to sleep after drinking alcohol, there could still be high levels of alcohol in your system, which will leave you over the drink driving limit and could lead to accidents on the road, penalty points, fines, or a ban.
Manage your responsibilities to reduce stress
Finally, your stress must be properly managed to maintain good mental and physical health. You can help manage your stress levels by organising your workloads and planning your responsibilities ahead of time. Address any pain points first such as long journeys, multiple collections, etc. Do not delay tasks that can be done today within your working timeframe. You could also help yourself to manage your day by:
- Preparing a packed lunch for the next day
- Plan out long or complicated routes for maximum time efficiency, and consider alternative routes in case of accidents or road works that could cause delays
- Make sure your van has enough fuel to perform all deliveries for the day or familiarise yourself with petrol stations along your routes if necessary
- Try to maintain a healthy and consistent sleep schedule throughout the week, as this could help you feel more refreshed and ready to start your day
Handy advice to reduce potential injuries
Handling goods and delivering them correctly is a major part of any delivery driver’s job. There are many ways you can potentially injure yourself if you are not correctly following manual handling. Check out our tips on how you could minimise the risk of a work-related injury.
Plan your manual handling
Try to identify your route and remove any obstacles between you and your customer. This includes litter, tools, and other debris that could be a potential hazard. If it is a long route from the van to the customer, you could take a time-out halfway and try changing your grip for maximum comfort. Also, consider using manual handling aids that can improve safety such as a:
- Delivery dolly
- Pump truck
- Power stacker
When lifting items try to keep them close to your waist with the heaviest side towards you. Keep a sturdy posture with your feet apart to keep your balance. Make sure to wear the correct footwear and clothing too! Unsuitable attire could also put you at risk of injury. Examples of safety clothing include:
- Ripstop trousers
- Safety goggles/glasses
- Steel toe cap safety boots
- Gloves with improved grip
Lift loads sensibly
When lifting always keep your shoulders forward. To reduce the risk of injury, avoid the following:
- Stopping abruptly
- Twisting, especially your back
- Bending your back when picking the item up
- Straining your muscles by holding the item too high or too low
If you must change direction turn by using your feet instead of your body. A torn muscle or misaligned disc can be extremely painful and could put you out of work whilst you recover. Also, failing to follow correct manual handling could result in damage to the goods before they reach the customer. This can lead to returns and potentially a complaint.
Move safely to reduce risk
Walk smoothly in as fluid a motion as possible. Do not jerk or exert too much pressure during the lift. Carry only what you can handle safely. If precise placement is required put down the load to reposition. Do not hold the item for longer than necessary while you adjust. For more information on manual handling and how best to handle heavy loads consult the HSE (Health and safety executive) website.
Where can I buy courier van driver insurance?
With 40 years of experience in the insurance industry, we assess each courier van driver’s policy individually and specialise in providing unique cover for each customer. We consider all drivers, even if you have a past conviction or points on your licence. We will endeavour to help you, no matter what your driving background or history.
Get a competitive UK courier van insurance quote
Click Get a Quote for a no-obligation online quotation now! At Acorn, we will do everything we can to make sure your courier van insurance policy is tailored to your needs and is right for you.
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