Scottish Borders Council will adjust its “processes and procedures” accordingly when the outcome of the Fatal Accident Inquiry into the Glasgow bin lorry tragedy is revealed.
The six-week inquiry, which concluded on Friday, heard that city council driver Harry Clarke, 58, had a history of fainting and light headedness which he failed to disclose to his employers, doctors and the DVLA.
The tragedy claimed the lives of six pedestrians.
At last week’s SBC meeting, Councillor Keith Cockburn (Con, Tweeddale West) sought a reassurance that “steps and processes are in place to mitigate any health problems of operators of vehicles and machinery”.
He was told by leader David Parker that SBC had long-standing procedures in place to meet its obligations to monitor the health of its fleet drivers.
These included pre-employment health checks and statutory five-year medical assessments of drivers over the age of 45.
“We have attendance management policies with follow-up actions which provide the opportunity for drivers’ health issues to be recorded and monitored by management and by the council’s occupational health provider,” said Councillor Parker.
“Also built into this process are a series of checks and balances that enable managers to monitor performance and compliance with legislative obligations, and to have reassurance that health conditions likely to impact on an employee’s ability to drive are regularly assessed by the medical profession, via GPs and the occupational health service.
“All staff members are made aware of their obligations to keep us informed of any event or issue which may affect their employment and this is not limited to health issues.
“However, like any employer, this council must rely on staff to act appropriately and we cannot guarantee that this will happen.
“We will monitor the recommendations of the FAI and, where required, adjust our processes and procedures accordingly.”
Mr Cockburn told us: “I’m satisfied the council is doing all it can to prevent such a tragic incident from happening in the Borders.”
In his closing address to the Glasgow inquiry, Sheriff John Beckett issued a plea to drivers to inform the DVLA of any health problems.
“By identifying a relevant medical condition and taking the appropriate steps, a driver may save his or her own life and the lives of others,”said the sheriff.