Survey aims to help improve driver health and safety
AUSTRALIAN truckies are being encouraged to take part in a confidential online survey to give medical experts more insight into their health.
Led by Monash University, the Driving Health Survey aims to improve the health of professional Australian employed drivers to make the industry safer.
Partners in this research include the Centre for Work Health and Safety, Linfox Logistics and the Transport Workers' Union. The study is also supported by the National Health and Medical Research Council.
The study partners say they are committed to working with the industry to develop new approaches to prevent and minimise the risk to physical and mental health.
Last year, the Driving Health Study found that, specifically, truck drivers are 13 times more likely to die on the job than all other workers.
"This study is a wake-up call,” said Michael Kaine, National Secretary for the Transport Workers' Union.
"Driving is a tough job. We must do more to ensure our drivers are healthy and safe at work. This survey will give us a baseline of information that will allow us to put in better strategies for the future.”
Monash University's landmark study examined 12 years of data and found that over 120,000 injury and fatality claims were made over this period.
Transport workers experience specific health risks in their working environments, including isolation, long hours and chronic fatigue. Tight delivery deadlines can add extra stress to an already challenging workplace.
So far, the research has shown that truck drivers are taking, on average, over 10 weeks off work when work-related mental health means a driver is unfit for work.
"This survey will provide new insights into factors in the workplace, at home and in the community that affect health in positive and negative ways,” says Dr Ross Iles from the Monash University School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine.
"Driving for a living poses many health challenges, both mental and physical, and yet there is little research or documentation that can drive change to help drivers be healthy and stay healthy at work.
"We know that employers can play a huge part in workers' health and some employers in the industry will need guidance to support the health of their drivers.”
Monash University is looking to expand their research beyond last year's study and is looking for input from all kinds of drivers from all over Australia.
To learn more or to register interest in the survey, click here.