Driving Positive Change for Truckies

In partnership with the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator, OzHelp is developing Health in Gear a health promotion and assistance program for owner drivers in the road transport industry.

Early in 2020, a broad range of stakeholders were brought together to understand the key issues that owner 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 will focus on ‘Wellness in small chunks’ – a series of practical tools and tips to support health and wellness for owner drivers through diet and exercise, sleep, connections with family and friends, financial wellbeing, on-the-job pressures and the owner driver community.

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 wellness 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.

OzHelp is now establishing working groups to further contribute to program design before testing with a small cohort. A larger group of end users will be targeted to participate in the pilot phase by the end of September 2020.

If you would like more information or would like to get involved, please email  transport@ozhelp.org.au


Further reading about driver health and wellbeing:

National Heavy Vehicle Regulator

Australian Work Health and Safety Strategy 2012-2022 – Priority industry snapshot: Road transport

National Transport Industry Health and Wellbeing Study

National Road Safety Partnership Program

Delivering Heavy Vehicle Safety Solutions Together: Queensland’s Heavy Vehicle Safety Action Plan 2019-21

Queensland Transport Industry Workplace Health Intervention: Research study overview, findings, discussion and conclusion and Diet and exercise

Fit For The Road, a New Zealand based health and wellbeing program for log truck drivers,


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