Our Ref: HSR/2/18
Head Office Circular/NP253/15
16th December 2015
Relevant Regional Councils
BUS DRIVERS HOURS AND BREAKS
HEALTH IMPLICATIONS OF PROLONGED SITTING
The following is to update bus branches and the relevant regional councils on the latest steps in our campaign for reduced hours and increased breaks for drivers. We would welcome your feedback on this and the letter that we propose sending to all bus companies.
The union has been campaigning for a reduction in the length of drivers’ shifts and more frequent breaks. This has thus far involved political action, but we wish to now expand activities on this issue to also cover an emerging health and safety angle.
Specifically, new medical research suggests that being sedentary (such as sitting driving a bus) for prolonged periods has negative health implications. Soon we expect to be able to conclusively show that prolonged sedentary working leads to a significant increase in the risk of heart disease, diabetes, obesity, certain cancers, depression and muscle and joint problems.
We believe that bus companies should already be doing more to break up the length of drivers’ shifts. We wish to formally put them on notice of our concerns and to warn them that where a link can be shown between a company’s failure to better organise shifts and the early onset of a correlated medical condition, we will be referring the matter to our personal injury lawyers.
A copy of the type of letter that we intend to send to bus companies is attached. Please review this and provide our Health and Safety team (firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com) with additional detail, amendments or feedback.