25 September 2023

Research to drive truckdriver health

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The Centre for Work Health and Safety has won funding from the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) to conduct a breakthrough research project on the health and safety of truck drivers.

The Centre will work with Monash University, Linfox and the Transport Workers Union to deliver the Driving Health project.

Minister for Better Regulation, Kevin Anderson said the NHMRC grant meant the Centre could work with its research partners to undertake interviews with drivers, their employers and contractors, as well as family members.

“This project cannot be understated when we look at the importance of the road transport industry to our economy,” Mr Anderson said.

“Between 2004 and 2015 there were more than 120,000 accepted workers compensation claims lodged by truck drivers across the country, with over one-third of these in NSW.”

He said rather than focusing on safety outcomes related to crashes, near misses, fatalities and traumatic injuries, the study would identify opportunities to improve health and wellbeing among truck drivers.

National Secretary of the Transport Workers Union, Michael Kaine said poor health among drivers was another major indicator of the crisis in road transport.

“Phase One of this study points to some serious issues in our industry where drivers’ health is failing,” Mr Kaine said.

“Phase Two will examine the experience of many truck drivers, their families and those of us who work closely with them.”

Leader of the study, Ross Iles from Monash University said Phase Two, launching in the second half of the year, would embark on the largest ever survey of the health of Australian truck drivers.

“We know from our work so far that drivers face an increased risk of injury and even death at work, but we only have part of the picture,” Dr Iles said.

He said the survey would help in the understanding of the health of drivers so that effective programs could be developed.

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