Early in 2020, a broad range of stakeholders were brought together to understand the key issues that truck drivers face. Stakeholders included representatives from state and territory transport associations, ACT Ambulance, University of Wollongong, Australian Logistics Council, safety experts and the owner drivers themselves.
The project has uncovered studies that indicate truck drivers’ life expectancy is 12 to 19 years less than the general population, resulting in some drivers not reaching retirement age. Truck drivers also experience a range of significant health issues including cardiovascular disease, sleep apnoea, fatigue, obesity and mental health conditions.
Road and rail drivers have a higher rate of suicide than other male-dominated occupations and with the well-established relationship between physical and mental health, it is evident that this cohort needs support and resources.
In collaboration with ThinkPlace, a human centered design agency, OzHelp explored solutions and opportunities through a focus on needs, contexts, behaviours, and emotions. Key themes have since been identified along with the nature of program interventions, and possible delivery methods.
The interventions focus on ‘Wellness in small chunks’ – a series of practical tools and tips to support health and wellbeing of transport and logistics workers through diet and exercise, sleep, connections with family and friends, financial wellbeing, and on-the-job pressures.
The program will offer flexible delivery through a digital platform, face to face, telephone, or face to screen support, and collaboration with other services and organisations working in the mental health and wellbeing space.
OzHelp’s CEO, Darren Black, said that the program aims to provide support, with evidence-based solutions to improve health and wellbeing.
“This is an incredibly important project that we are well placed to deliver. Our long history in working with hard to reach and at-risk male workforces gives us a baseline understanding of the barriers to seeking help and behaviour change.”
“The project is central to our purpose and with industry action like the recent launch of Healthy Heads in Trucks and Sheds, we are confident of the desire to create an improved framework for drivers,” he explained.
To access the resources available to transport and logistics workers and their families or to learn more about the program,
Further reading about driver health and wellbeing:
Australian Work Health and Safety Strategy 2012-2022 – Priority industry snapshot: Road transport
Fit For The Road, a New Zealand based health and wellbeing program for log truck drivers,