What are airside driver medicals?
Airside driver medicals are required to ensure employees are healthy and fit to DVLA Group 1 standard. This is required for all staff driving vehicles within airside. Airside driver medicals are there to ensure basic medical requirements set by OH and the Department for Transport are met.
As a minimum, these include:
- Initial and renewed medical declarations in line with DVLA Group 1 standard;
- Age limit related medical assessments e.g. LGV;
- Relevant medical assessments if DVLA health conditions are reported by the driver;
- Appropriate reviews after driving accidents or incidents at work.
Airside driver medicals need to be renewed every three years, however additional requirements might depend on the results of a risk assessment, the vehicle being driven, health status, previous driving incidents and the airport. The risk assessment should consider a number of factors such as local procedures, environment, and how busy the airfield is, and is the responsibility of the aerodrome operator. If guidance is needed, it can be found in Appendix A and on the HSE website.
If a condition or restriction is placed on the driver by the DVLA, the employer is to inform the aerodrome operator, following which they might suspend or remove the Airside Driving Permit as soon as the medical issue is brought to notice.
More information can be found in the HSE guidance for airside driver permits.
What included in the airside driver medicals?
A general examination will check whether the standards for vision, hearing, colour perception, and overall health, such as cardiovascular and musculoskeletal, are met. This might differ depending on pre-existing health conditions and whether the medical is the first one.
Do you know if your employees need to have airside driver medicals? Have their checks been renewed? If you have any questions or want to enquire about airside driver medicals, please let us know!
Why do we need to do blood pressure checks for driver medicals?
High blood pressure is a common medical condition where the pressure inside your arteries is higher than it should be. If you have high blood pressure, you probably won’t get any symptoms. Although having high blood pressure does not usually cause any symptoms, it does increase your risk of getting complications. These may include:
- coronary heart disease (including angina and heart attack)
- heart failure
- a stroke
- kidney disease
- peripheral artery disease
- problems with your vision
- vascular dementia
Blood pressure (BP) is one of the most common reasons why people are asked to have a GP/GP nurse assessment and then a further review in 6 weeks with Occupational Health.
The driver medical needs your BP to be well controlled. The DVLA requirements are actually very lenient. This can be with or without medication. They require the systolic pressure (top reading) to be Less than 180. Furthermore, the diastolic (bottom reading) needs to be less than 100.
The DVLA has confirmed that people are to be restricted from driving if their BP is consistently (3 consecutive readings on 3 separate days) above the above range.
What if I take medication for my blood pressure?
It is okay to take medication for your BP in order to keep it well controlled. However, if you have a blood pressure machine at home, we will need to note three BP readings from it, done on different dates. Preferably recent, i.e. done within the last week.
How can I ensure my blood pressure is okay for the medical?
There are a few things we would recommend you do to help with your readings:
- Come for your medical assessment early
- Do not consume caffeinated and/or energy drinks before your medical
- Leave plenty of time between your renewal date and the medical assessment
- Decrease stress on the day by allowing ample time for the medical
- Bring your home readings with you if you have a machine at home
All of these things will help you to bring your BP down. Relaxing is the key.
What if my blood pressure is too high for the medical?
Depending on how high your BP is and whether this is the first reading, the technician will refer you to your GP to undertake a further reading and to see if you may need medication. You will then receive an invitation to a review appointment with Occupational Health, to check your BP again. If it is within normal range things will proceed as normal, however if it exceeds the norm a temporary restriction is required to ensure your safety.