Heavy vehicles make up 8% of the vehicle kilometres travelled on Australia’s roads, yet they are involved in 18% of all road deaths.1
In addition, Australian heavy vehicle operators are three times more likely to complete worker’s compensation claims due to injury or illness compared to other workforce claims (with 70 claims made for every 1,000 workers every year).2
The rate of work-related injury and disease is even higher among heavy vehicle operators aged 65 years and over.2 This is of particular concern due to Australia’s rapidly ageing heavy vehicle workforce.3 The leading types of injury and diseases contributing to claims are musculoskeletal (60%), other traumatic incidents (24%) and fractures (9%).2
In 2008, The Australian Work Health and Safety Strategy 2012- 2022 set a national priority to reduce the high rate of deaths and serious claims in the road transport industry.
Truck drivers play a vital role in Australia. They face a tough work setting, including:
- Long lengths of time alone.
- Time pressure.
- Long work hours.
- Lack of access to proper food and facilities.
- Having to sleep in their cabs alongside of roads.
- Risky road acts.
- Poor health habits. 2
Safe Work Australia identified the following issues for truck drivers:
1. National Transport Commission. Heavy vehicles / Safety. National Transport Commission https://www.ntc.gov.au/heavy-vehicles/safety/ (2018).
2. Monash Insurance Work and Health Group. #1 National Transport and Logistics Industry Health and Wellbeing Study. Work-Related Injury and Disease In Australian Transport Sector Workers. https://900e23b0-9c7a-456c-a659-de325e888021.filesusr.com/ugd/016fda_48ecf3bef3ad4ce0abe751c8a199fbb5.pdf (2018).
3. Monash University Insurance Work and Health Group. Driving Health. Work-Related Injury and Disease In Australian Truck Drivers. https://www.monash.edu/__data/assets/pdf_file/0006/1457475/Driving-Health-Report-2.pdf (2018).