THE HEALTH and Safety Executive has said it wants to see assessment of the health and competence of all drivers and operators before they are allowed on sites.
It also wants proper standards for both mental and physical fitness to be drawn up and applied on site.
The emphasis on ability and 'fitness to drive' is a major focus in the HSE's consultation document for managing workplace transport risk, published last week, and follows research among contractors, clients and f leet owners.
The 'route map' for managing risk is designed to provide a framework for best practice for any vehicle that is used in a work setting, so covers everything from vans to delivery trucks to all construction equipment.
The consultation, which ends in September, sets out standards in four areas: site layout and design; vehicle selection and maintenance; personnel matters; and management responsibilities.
The HSE has proposed that the driving and operating ability of a worker should be assessed before they are allowed to drive, and a written policy produced as to how of ten this should be checked.
It has also proposed that there should always be 'some sort of supervision' on site, in recognition that skill and knowledge can deteriorate over time.
The route map makes particular proposals for agency drivers and those who make irregular visits to site, since they are seen as most at risk of accidents.
Among the requirements proposed are that drivers 'should know enough English so that they can work safely'.
The area of medical fitness could prove most controversial.
The route map recommends standards for both physical and mental fitness should be drawn up by employers and a medical assessment made before drivers and operators start work.
Such policies, the HSE proposes, should be used alongside a policy, developed with staff, on drug and alcohol use, which should include prescription drugs.