Building healthy and thriving working environments in road transport, warehousing and logistics

Recent findings from Monash University found that of 1,400 truck drivers across Australia surveyed, one in five drivers aged over 35 reported severe psychological distress, and that mental health problems fell into the top three most common medical conditions.

Mental health concerns are increasingly coming to the forefront across the road transport, warehousing and logistics sector, and for these industries to survive it’s of great importance to recognise key areas that require improvement.

The health and wellbeing of our nation’s truck drivers, warehousing and logistics workers needs to be prioritised, particularly at a time when demand from the general public has risen as a result of COVID-19, placing even greater pressure on the needs of these workers.

In late March, Healthy Heads in Trucks & Sheds (HHTS) Foundation launched a Three Year Industry Strategy for Psychological Safety (The HHTS Industry Roadmap), the Foundation’s largest milestone to date.

The delivery of this initiative was one of the fundamental reasons for the establishment of the Foundation.

The HHTS Industry Roadmap was designed by AP Psychology Consulting Services (APPCS) in collaboration with a dedicated project working group, made up of mental health experts, leaders in transport, warehousing and logistics and importantly, frontline workers.

It is freely available to all operators from small and medium to large enterprises. It’s underpinned by the embedding of a best-practice psychological safety & thriving maturity model to drive achievable improvement in psychological safety across all industry businesses, aligned to their current level of practice.

The ambition of the Foundation is to drive continuous improvement by supporting the implementation of the maturity model across the entire sector.

By 2024, we hope that a significant number of operators will have advanced from a ‘basic’ maturity level to ‘best practice’, meaning that they have achieved and upheld overarching practices drawn from the HHTS Industry Roadmap, including;
Has established policies which are intended to raise awareness or relevant issues (relating to mental health and wellbeing);
Conducts awareness and education activities designed to ensure all staff understand what resources and support is available to them;
Targets industry specific risk factors;
Builds capability at all levels to provide a psychologically safe & thriving workplace;

Measures effectiveness of interventions and responses appropriately to ensure continuous improvement in systems, policies and practices.

We hope that the delivery of this industry-for industry initiative encourages future collaboration across all levels of the sector, where we can come together to promote the prevention and understanding of mental health, as well as build cultures of support around individual wellbeing.

Over the coming months, we will work to embed greater understanding of the HHTS Industry Roadmap and the tools and resources available to all of industry.

We are encouraging all members of industry to visit our website to gain access to the full HHTS Industry Roadmap.

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Naomi Frauenfelder was previously Executive Director of the TrackSAFE Foundation — an Australian rail industry not-for-profit, that addresses suicide on the rail network and the resultant trauma caused to train drivers and other frontline staff. It is this experience that Naomi will draw upon and apply to HHTS, to strengthen and grow the organisation and work to improve mental health in the trucking and logistics industry. Naomi has spent her career to date honing her passion for working nationally to unite industries behind significant causes such as mental health, providing individuals and organisations with the resources they need to face challenges head-on, creating cultures of care and support. Naomi holds a Bachelor and Masters from Monash University and is a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.