Road safety advice for businesses during Ramadan
Ramadan is one of the most important religious celebrations in the Islamic calendar and is a time of spiritual reflection, self-improvement and heightened devotion and worship. During Ramadan participants observe a fast, which means they abstain from food and water between sunrise and sunset.
This year Ramadan runs between 12 April and 12 May, and whether your workplace is now returning to work following the COVID-19 pandemic or if many of your employees are still working from home, there are some considerations your business needs to take.
The UK is home to over 3 million Muslims, many of whom will refrain from eating or drinking during daylight hours throughout Ramadan – which amounts to around 19 hours spent fasting. Many will also pray during the night, so will possibly only sleep for a few hours.
It is important for employers to consider any possible impacts this may have in the workplace and behind the steering wheel. Not eating or drinking during the say can sometimes lead to low blood sugar levels and dehydration – which can limit productivity and impair judgement. Added to the potential disturbance to sleep patterns, it could result in some employees suffering from reduced concentrations, fatigue, headaches and feeling lightheaded during working hours.
As part of their duty of care to employees, it is advisable for employers to carry out a risk assessment for any member of staff who is observing Ramadan to ensure their safety, the safety of their colleagues and that of the general public. This is especially important for any employees who operate heavy machinery or drive vehicles as part of their job.
Potential road safety risks
It is well known that low levels of concentration can affect our awareness and reaction times when driving, causing problems regarding reading road signs, exceeding the speed limit and braking times. Tiredness can also be a factor causing increased impatience with other drivers, which can escalate to road rage.
Fleet managers should be aware of these risks and should consider how observing Ramadan could affect driver behaviour.
Risk management could also include:
- Adapting schedules to take into account the effect on drivers who are observing Ramadan, recognising that long journeys may be more challenging
- Encouraging drivers to take regular breaks and ‘power naps’ if necessary
- Providing refresher training on defensive driving and maintaining a safe distance away from the vehicle in front (which reduces the risk of rear end collisions, one of the most common and costly crash types)
- Where possible, allow workers to avoid travelling to and from work at peak commuting times
It is also advisable to communicate information about Ramadan to all employees to encourage a positive, supportive and safe working environment.
Transport and Logistics insurance
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For more information, visit: Transport and Logistics or call us now on 0330 024 06 06