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Safety concerns over night time deliveries

10 April 2019

The boom in next day online retail has posed dangers for the HGV drivers carrying out the night time deliveries that make this happen, said Simon Docherty, instructor academy manager, RTITB, at The Health & Safety Event.

Online retail has driven a great rise in home deliveries, with an equivalent increase in night time deliveries to replenish warehouses that are serving this insatiable demand.

‘Get what you want now’ is the motto.

Night time deliveries bring lots of efficiency benefits for haulage firms, such as quicker delivery times, less traffic, with financial gains as there is less wear and tear, lower fuel costs, while firms find it easier to hit delivery deadlines.

Simon Docherty told the Safer Logistics seminar theatre: “There are clearly benefits, but there are a number of serious safety considerations to take into account as well. Night time drivers are lone workers, and that has possible mental health issues.

“Also night time vision is a big issue that many logistics firms are not taking into account. Some people suffer with night blindness and many have no idea they do.

“It is notifiable to the DVLA but unless testing is pushed by companies, it is unlikely ever to come to light. Employers need to have a positive culture in place so drivers do not fear losing shifts, or losing their job.”

Driver fatigue is also a factor with 40% of collisions occurring in the hours of darkness, despite only 15% of vehicle miles being driven at night.

Simon said: “People naturally want to sleep at night, and the body never fully adjusts to working at night. The mental health and wellbeing of drivers is now a hot topic. Fatigue can lead to depression and health problems, as well as irritability and potential road rage.”

Other more leftfield hazards are LED lights on vehicles which can be very bright, dazzling drivers.

Lack of street lighting at night, with local authorities turning down lighting to save money, can also be a danger.