Trucking industry launches driver health initiative

The Australian Trucking Association (ATA) has today launched a new driver health initiative, releasing the first in a series of health fact sheets for ATA members.

Developed in partnership with the Sleep Health Foundation, the first fact sheet focuses on Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (OSA), a condition that affects some 40 per cent of Australia’s long distance truck drivers.

OSA causes the soft tissues of the throat to close or partially block the airway during sleep, preventing normal breathing and forcing sufferers to wake multiple times during the night.

Professor Doug McEvoy from the Sleep Health Foundation said many people with sleep apnoea were unaware of the condition.

“Sleep apnoea has a serious impact on every aspect of a sufferer’s life. However, OSA is completely treatable. There’s no reason to suffer in silence,” Professor McEvoy said.

“This week is national Sleep Awareness Week – the perfect time to focus on making sure that you are getting the healthy rest you need.

“We are delighted to partner with the trucking industry for this important awareness initiative, and strongly encourage trucking operators to use these sheets to help improve the health and wellbeing of their workforce.”

ATA Chief Executive Stuart St Clair said the fact sheets would raise awareness of different health issues in the trucking industry.

“We’ve designed the fact sheets so operators can use them as the basis of a staff briefing or toolbox talk, as well as printing them for the staff noticeboard,” Mr St Clair said.

“New fact sheets will be released to ATA members throughout the year. It’s part of our efforts to make sure that trucking a healthy, safe and professional industry of choice, now and in the future.”

The first fact sheet outlines the symptoms of OSA, including fatigue and heavy snoring, and the steps drivers can take to diagnose and treat the condition.

To get a copy of the driver health sheet, operators should contact their ATA member association.