For many employees across the country the ritual of putting on a lanyard with pass or identification is a daily one. Many also wear lanyards to and from the office and during the day whilst completing driving duties. For many employers and staff the lanyard is the most convenient way of carrying important pieces of equipment such as keys, door tags and security passes.
Dorset Police have issued a warning on social media in May 2019 to drivers not to wear work-related lanyards whilst driving. Their social media post stated “There have been a couple of serious traffic accidents of note (not within Dorset Police) where the wearing of identity lanyards around the drivers’ necks has exacerbated the severity of the injuries sustained. This type of accident is fortunately unlikely, however staff, officers and volunteers should be aware of the hazard and how to avoid it.”
This warning has now further been put onto the social media platforms of Kent Police, Lancashire Police, Devon and Cornwall Police, Avon and Somerset Police and Essex Police.
In one of the instances referred to, the driver may have walked away without serious injury from a road traffic collision, but instead sustained a collapsed lung, amongst other injuries, when a vehicle airbag deployed during the collision. The explosive forces of the airbag deployment pushed the lanyard into the drivers’ chest.
“Had the person not been wearing their lanyard and pass at the time, they would have most likely walked away relatively unscathed,” Dorset Police said.
The chair of the NHS Wales Health and Safety Management Steering Group has followed suit advising NHS Wales staff to also remove lanyards whilst driving following another vehicle collision where an NHS worker sustained a perforated bowel. The worker in this incident had attached keys along with an ID pass to the lanyard as is commonly practiced by people around the country. The worker was hospitalised for 6 weeks and after a further 6 months of rest and recuperation had yet to return to work.
Although instances of adverse events associated with wearing lanyards whilst driving are very infrequent, the seriousness of the consequences should prompt organisations to consider the welfare of their staff, whether car driver or passenger, and discourage the wearing of lanyards whilst travelling in vehicles.