Truckies delaying help for mental health problems
THE TWU called for urgent action following today's Monash University study showing high numbers of truck drivers accessing medical treatment, but many are delaying help, in particular for mental health problems.
The study shows that truck drivers following a work injury are more likely to undergo surgery and have more doctor visits compared with other workers.
The study also showed that most of the health care that drivers access is provided more than three months after the injury.
For mental health services 92% of drivers seeking treatment were waiting more than 14 weeks for help.
TWU National Secretary Michael Kaine said the study pointed to some serious issues in the industry where drivers' health was failing.
"It is also showing major issues when drivers are delaying accessing treatment, especially for mental health problems.
"Suicide rates among drivers are high so waiting over 14 weeks for treatment is completely unacceptable. We need an urgent action to address the clear failings in our industry.
"This study confirms the experience of many truck drivers, their families and those of us who work closely with them.
"We know drivers' health is put at risk because of the stress of the job. They are being bashed, broken and killed because of chronic fatigue, unrealistic deadlines, long working hours and social isolation.
"These risk factors must be addressed by looking at what is causing them - to do that we must look at the financial pressure from wealthy clients at the top which means drivers are constantly pushed to work harder."
Two previous Monash University studies have revealed how truck driving is Australia's deadliest and unhealthiest jobs. Monash University researchers next year will conduct Australia's largest survey of truck driver health.