Developing evidence-based strategies to improve the health of truck drivers
The Centre for WHS (Centre) is embarking on a significant research partnership bringing Monash University, Linfox, the Transport Workers Union (TWU) and the TWU Super to the table. The objective: to develop evidence-based strategies to improve the health of truck drivers.
Bringing industry, researchers and unions together is critical in ensuring all voices are heard to keep NSW workers safe and healthy in any workplace. In the modern world, where collaboration and information sharing is simpler than in any other decade, we need to be at the forefront by involving all players – especially when it means bringing our loved ones home safe and sound.
We recently solidified our partnership with Monash University through the signing of a research Memorandum of Understanding. The Centre and Monash University will co-lead the research, in collaboration with our partners in the transport industry and unions strengthening the opportunity for successful in the delivery of practical solutions to improve truck driver health.
Why are we working with truckies? According to Xia et al. (2018), “long haul truck drivers may be exposed to multiple risk factors in their workplace including long working hours, sedentary roles, poor access to nutritious food, social isolation, shift work, time pressure, low levels of job control, and fatigue.”
Understanding how truck driver health can be improved aligns closely with the Work Health and Safety Roadmap for NSW 2022. One of the Strategic Outcomes of the Roadmap is to prioritise workers in specified high risk sectors, including transport, “to be significantly safer and healthier”.
This project aims to develop evidence-based strategies to improve the health of Australian truck drivers. To achieve this, we will:
1. Characterise the physical and mental health of Australian truck drivers, and identify the major areas of concern;
2. Identify the work, personal, social, environmental and regulatory factors that improve and impair health including factors that are easily able to be changed; and
3. Collaborate with transport industry and government stakeholders to co-design health-focused intervention strategies, programs, policies and services.
Prior research was conducted by Monash University in Phase One of the project which you can read about here. Phase Two and Three, will see the Centre and Monash co-lead the project commencing in early 2019.
Phase Two will consist of detailed interviews with truck drivers, their employers and family members. These interviews will capture information on mental health, physical health, work and social function.
Phase Three will synthesise insights from the first two phases with ‘on the ground’ transport sector knowledge to co-design interventions. Our objective is to develop interventions that, upon completion of the study, can be implemented by employers, regulators, drivers and others in the sector.
We intend to use the recommendations resulting from the research to inform the regulator’s health-focused intervention strategies, programs, policies and services to improve the physical and mental health of truck drivers.
Xia, T., Iles, R., Collie, A., & Newnam, S. (2018). #2. National Transport and Logistics Industry Health and Wellbeing Study: Work‑Related Injury and Disease In Australian Truck Drivers. Unpublished report, Monash Insurance Work and Health Group, Monash University.