Concerns are rising that transport and logistics firms are not prepared for a tide of alcohol and drug-related impairment issues, due to the impact of the pandemic on mental health.
A report from medical tech company Drager Safety UK found more than half (55%) of transport firms have no policies in place to manage workplace issues caused by prescribed medication.
It said that as the industry continued to face serious driver shortages, greater pressure will be applied to existing staff and more awareness was needed about the effect of drugs in work-related situations.
Drager said its report found six in 10 managers working in the industry believe their organisation is “extremely concerned” about workplace impairment and the resulting injuries and accidents due to alcohol and drug use.
A further third (32%) were quite concerned, but had not yet factored the problem into their health and safety policies.
These figures fall to 53% and 21% respectively across all industries that took part in the research.
ONS figures show that one in five adults have experienced symptoms of depression during the pandemic and at the same time, prescriptions for benzodiazepines and antidepressants have increased dramatically.
Drager Safety UK spokesman Graham Hurst said: “The pandemic, and the resulting anxiety it has created, has undoubtedly shone more of a spotlight on mental health and its consequences, including increased alcohol consumption and drug use.
“Our research has indicated that, perhaps not surprisingly, this is a trend which is keenly felt in the transport and logistics industry.
“However, it is still concerning that more than half of transport and logistics companies do not have policies in place to manage workplace issues caused by prescribed medication.”