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Dis-Chem increases road safety skills for drivers

| On the move

Dis-Chem Pharmacies has initiated two skills development programmes for its motorcycle and truck drivers to reinforce a key priority of driver safety.

The retail pharmacy group is sending 198 motorcycle delivery drivers on an advanced motorcycle drivers’ training programme and is piloting anti-hijack training for truck drivers.

 

According to Caryn Eliasov-Barker, Dis-Chem’s HR Director, the training forms part of the group’s focus on health and wellbeing.  “Our drivers are on the road all day every day, providing a valuable service to customers, but they are continually exposed to road and traffic dangers.  It is critical that we improve their road safety skills to ensure better outcomes for our drivers and customers.”

“The onset of the Covid-19 pandemic saw a significant increase in demand for on-line deliveries and while improving road safety skills and awareness has obvious health and safety benefits, there is an upside of increased efficiency and productivity in terms of meeting ever-growing demand for online services.  While we have worked hard to meet increased delivery demands, it showcased the very necessary requirement to boost driver safety and road rules awareness.”

The motorcycle training modules include advanced mental awareness and mechanical instruction which combined with correct riding, technical and on-road skills development, will create  better equipped motorcycle drivers who make better choices while driving.  It will also enhance driving skills to reduce or avoid unnecessary accidents and injuries.  Soft skills, such as customer service, have also been included in the programme. 

The class size has been restricted to a maximum of eight delegates per day to comply with Covid-19 regulations.  Dis-Chem has teamed up with accredited training partner Scully Scooters to ensure the delivery of an effective and efficient training outcome and motorbikes are provided for the practical training component.

Clinic sisters at Dis-Chem clinics countrywide will assist with driver health checks and weight and height assessments, a prerequisite for the training so that each motorcycle can be optimally adjusted for each delegate according to their weight and height.  This simple step is often not done and can reduce physical strain for the driver.

At the same time, Dis-Chem is running a series of anti-hijacking courses for its courier drivers, designed to develop more confident and defensive behaviour.  The course provides step-by-step instruction on hijack prevention and increased awareness to enable drivers to pre-empt a possible attack and avoid it, and to fully understand factors and risks that lead to attacks.  It will be piloted to an initial 31 drivers and will be extended to all truck and bakkie drivers nationally.

 

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