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Monash University releases findings from road transport report

A sample of the 1.2 million employees in the Australian commercial transport and logistics sectors have been identified by Safe Work Australia as prime candidates for the Driving Health Study.

Established in conjunction with Monash University, the study, which comes ahead of Chain of Responsibility laws in October, has looked at the health factors affecting the diverse range of transport workers who include drivers, logistics, storage and warehousing workers, managers and executives.

In an issued statement Monash University said that understanding and improving the health of a critical national workforce is important for the workers, their employers and the national economy.

“The Driving Health Study will develop evidence on the health status of transport workers and the factors affecting health, as well as the flow-on impacts to work and social function. We also seek to combine this evidence with industry knowledge to co-develop programs, policies and practices that will improve health.”

The study involves three main phases including analysis derived from large insurance claims databases with details on the burden of illness and injury in the transport sector; detailed interviews with truck drivers, their employers and family members; and ‘on the ground’ knowledge acquired from a synthesis of insights gained from the first two phases.

More than 120,000 insurance compensation claims from between 2004 and 2015 have been pored over by researchers who have found truck driving was the most common job for men across the country. One in every 33 workers was at least part of the time behind the wheel of a truck.

“Our objective is to develop interventions that, upon completion of the study, can be implemented by employers, regulators, drivers and others in the sector,” Monash University noted in a statement.

It is expected that the study will result in a set of ‘ready to implement’ interventions that can be actioned by stakeholders across the industry.

"These findings present a new substantial opportunity to improve the health and wellbeing of truck drivers in Australia that has not been previously characterised at a national level," 

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