The OzHelp Foundation (OzHelp) has released its phase one report on the rollout of Health in Gear, a health and wellbeing program for truck drivers, funded by the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator’s (NHVR) Heavy Vehicle Safety Initiative.
Truck drivers are the second highest occupation group at risk of suicide after construction workers. Risk factors include long and irregular work hours, poor diet, lack of exercise, fatigue, relationship pressures, isolation from friends and families, and the stress of regulatory burdens and tight deadlines – added to this are increasing pressures due to Covid-19 lockdowns and restrictions.
The Covid-19 pandemic is greatly impacting the industry with lockdown restrictions, border closures, and COVID testing requirements continuing to challenge the mental health and wellbeing of drivers nationally.
There are an estimated 209,300 truck drivers in Australia and 97 percent are men. Right now these people are experiencing unprecedented challenges to their livelihood and their mental health and wellbeing.
The Health in Gear program is a first for Australia and is specifically focused on the health and wellbeing of truck drivers in the heavy vehicle industry. The report highlights the co-design approach, along with the program development, rollout, and engagement with drivers. Key findings and lessons learned are also shared.
OzHelp delivered a unique and tailored program that:
- Took support ‘to the road’ and connected with 583 drivers and delivered 85 brief and engaging Truckie Tune-Ups (TTUs) at key roadside hubs.
- Reached 524,000 people connected to the transport and logistics industry through an information campaign.
- Provided accessible online information at healthingear.com.au accessed by 1549 visitors and a telephone support line 1800 IN GEAR.
- Developed an engaging podcast ‘Share the Load’, downloaded 573 times, that drivers could listen to while on the road.
OzHelp Chief Executive Officer, Darren Black highlights that the health and wellbeing of truck drivers are so important, most importantly for them, but also for the nation too.
“Truck drivers are on our roads every day and night doing essential work that ensures our supermarket shelves are stocked, construction materials are delivered, fuel is in the bowsers and important deliveries are received. Fatigue, depression, stress, and isolation are common and with targeted and industry-specific support we can positively impact the lives of our nation’s drivers”.
“The report and our ongoing evaluation has made clear that this program should not be one-off and more must be done. I’d like to thank the NHVR for their ongoing funding support and we would love to see the industry and other partners step in to help us expand the delivery of the program as we have only just begun to scratch the surface of need.”
Click below to read the full report.
Truck Drivers struggling with their mental health and wellbeing can access support by calling 1800 IN GEAR (1800 464 327) or by emailing [email protected] Monday to Friday 9 am to 5 pm AEST. For 24/7 crisis support call Lifeline at 13 11 14.