Glasgow refuse-truck crash inquiry revelation underlines importance of health disclosure clause in drivers' contracts, says lawyer

An solicitor has advised that a employee health disclosure clause in contracts could help hauliers avoid legal action over health-related incidents, after a fatal accident inquiry (FAI) heard that the driver of the Glasgow refuse vehicle that was involved in a fatal accident last year had failed to disclose a health issue on numerous occasions.

Rafia Ahmad from Backhouse Jones said an employer could not be held liable if an employee causes an accident as a result of a condition the employer did not know about.

However, Ahmad told Commercialmotor.com: “It all depends very much on the contract of employment. If there’s a clause that asks about medical conditions, which could prevent your ability to carry out your role, then you should disclose it.

"If you don’t disclose it there’s very little an employer can do, and indeed the employer has a valid defence – how can they be responsible if they were never told?”

But, Ahmad said if an employer learns an employee could be unwell and does nothing about it, this could have “potentially serious implications” for them.

“You’d be surprised how many employers are so focused on running a business that they just don’t give something like that due attention. They should follow it up."

Yesterday Sheriff Crown Court in Glasgow heard that Harry Clarke, who is believed to have passed out behind the wheel of his refuse truck (which then rolled out of control and killed six people), denied having had a blackout in the last five years on a form in 2011, though he is believed to have passed out while driving a passenger bus just the year before, in 2010.

He also claimed to have taken just seven days of sick leave in 2010, while the inquiry heard he had been away for more than three weeks.

The inquiry has previously heard that there was no mechanical fault involved in the refuse truck crash.

Photo: Press Association

Warning issued over fraudulent MPQC Driver Skills cards

Operators in the aggregates industry are being urged to be extra vigilant when checking drivers’ MPQC Driver Skills Cards (formerly known as the Epic card), which are used to gain access to certain quarries, as a number of fraudulent certificates have emerged.

A spokeswoman for the Mineral Products Qualification Council (MPQC) said drivers who have completed the course legitimately will receive a card with a holographic image with a swirl printed in the background.

However, a number of convincing fraudulent cards and certificates have emerged and the MPQC is encouraging anyone concerned about their own or a driver’s card to contact them to check whether a card is legitimate.

Drivers are also reminded that the training course can only be arranged through the MP Skills, so third-parties claiming to offer the course will not be able to issue an official Driver Skills Card.