Taxi drivers getting their photo identification pictures taken at Ballarat this week will also be offered a free, confidential health assessment.

Combining health checks with the new photo-ID process is a joint initiative between the Victorian Taxi Directorate (VTD) and WorkSafe Victoria.

The photos are part of the roll-out of in-cab photo identification to regional Victoria, which will take place over the coming months.

“Ballarat is next cab off the rank in the roll out of photo identification to non-metropolitan Victoria,” VTD General Manager, Marnie Williams said.

“Photo ID increases passenger feelings of safety and confidence in taxi services by allowing them to see that their driver is properly accredited.

“It’s a big win for the industry and for everyone catching a cab in Ballarat.”

While visiting Ballarat Taxis to have their photos taken, drivers will be given the opportunity to have a free, confidential WorkHealth check, provided through WorkSafe Victoria.

Taxi drivers taking part in the 15-minute checks will learn about the health risks associated with developing type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

WorkHealth checks involve a short survey along with having their blood pressure, cholesterol, blood glucose and waistline measurements being taken by a trained health professional.

Drivers at risk for type 2 diabetes or heart disease will have the opportunity to get personal support to improve their health through a free and confidential telephone service, called the WorkHealth Coach program.

“Ballarat taxi drivers will be joining the 465,000 Victorian workers who have already taken up the opportunity to participate in these free checks. Many have had a major wake-up call about their health,” WorkHealth’s Tim McLean said.

“For workers in sedentary jobs, who may not get enough physical activity, the checks are a great opportunity to see where your health is at, and get practical advice on leading a healthier lifestyle.”

Further taxi locations across Victoria will be offered the opportunity to receive free WorkHealth checks early in 2012.

For more information about the rollout of photo ID in regional Victoria visit www.taxi.vic.gov.au.

For more information on free WorkHealth checks and the WorkHealth Coach program, visit www.workhealth.vic.gov.au