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Fat bus drivers ordered to lose weight 'because they are breaking seats'


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Fat bus drivers ordered to lose weight 'because they are breaking seats'



By Daily Mail Reporter

Last updated at 2:23 PM on 02nd September 2009



article-1210665-0643448C000005DC-336_233x313.jpg Overweight bus drivers will have to embark on a fitness regime to avoid breaking seats (file picture)



Heavyweight bus drivers are being told to go on a fitness drive because of fears they are so fat they will break their seats.


Stagecoach bus company in Hull, East Yorkshire, has sent letters to all its staff explaining the need for overweight drivers to lose weight.


The company claims there is a health and safety risk of drivers topping 20 stone breaking new seats. But some drivers have hit out claiming the policy is discriminatory.


Now overweight drivers will go on a fitness regime and will be re-deployed to work for Stagecoach in others areas until they can shed some pounds.


The letter to employees asks drivers who think they exceed the weight limit of 20 stone for some buses and 23 stone for others to seek out their appropriate line manager, who will refer them to the company's occupational assessment adviser.


The adviser for the company, which employs 350 people in Hull including 300 drivers, will then discuss a weight loss programme with them.


Company spokesman Tony Fieldsend said the policy, which came into force this week, was in line with safety regulations on new seats it has fitted on its buses.


He said: 'The background to this is that the seats we have fitted on our buses have a weight specification of 23 stone for some and less for others.


'Because of health and safety and because we recognise we have a duty of care to people, a letter has gone to everyone explaining what we are doing.


'We have done it in conjunction with the union Unite and it is in agreement.


'Heaven forbid if a driver in charge of 70 people had an accident.'


Drivers will also still be able to drive buses for test purposes, just not carry passengers.


article-1210665-0643456D000005DC-465_468x321.jpg Stagecoach claims there is a health and safety risk presented by drivers topping 20 stone



Mr Fieldsend added: 'Unite came to senior managers with a proposal where we sign drivers up for the Active for Life Campaign and we will support them in joining that.'


Active for Life is a Government scheme which aims to get people fitter and healthier.


Anyone can sign up and will enjoy benefits such as six weeks access to a gym, day passes to gyms in the local area and access to walking groups as well as other tips to stay healthy.


One Stagecoach driver, who did not want to be named, said: 'I think it is disgusting. It is certainly discrimination. This will affect quite a lot of drivers.


'Some may be just a stone over the limit but others are five or six stone over the limit.


'If you are overweight you will be given a time period to lose it and will have to work elsewhere until you have.'

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