The Healthy Heads in Trucks & Sheds (HHTS) Foundation has confirmed it will partner with Griffith University in a research project funded by the Motor Accident Insurance Commission (MAIC).
The aim of the project, which is expected to run for 18 months, is to better understand mental health and wellbeing within the transport and logistics sector.
By understanding the effects psychosocial factors, distraction and fatigue can have on mental health, the project will look at role these factors play in crashes and injury.
The need for a comprehensive investigation into mental health within the road transport and logistics industry is long overdue with nearly one in two workers experiencing a mental health issue.
This includes some 13.3 per cent of Australian heavy vehicle drivers demonstrating some sign of depression, while those who have in fact been clinically diagnosed, being seven times more likely to have been involved in a road crash.
Since its launch in August 2020, the HHTS Foundation has been engaging the sector on the importance of improving mental health and physical wellbeing outcomes across industry.
This project is the first research study involving Healthy Heads and aims to better understand mental wellbeing and the rates of fatigue within the industry to later recommend appropriate and effective strategies to facilitate positive change across the sector and help inform policy.
The project will involve survey interviews with voluntary participant drivers from Linfox and Woolworths Group in both regional and metro distribution centres across Queensland.
The research will investigate the positive and negative impacts of operational factors, such as loading and unloading issues, workplace communication and time scheduling along with workplace stress.
Outcomes from this research will be used to inform mental health strategies within the transport and logistics sector and improve the safety and wellbeing of drivers and distribution centre personnel.
The Research Pilot Project will centre around the Three Pillars of HHTS, being:
● Increasing the number of people trained in mental health at transport and logistics
● Standardising policies and regulation at transport and logistics facilities
● Helping the individual be healthier from a diet and mental health perspective
“The project will also involve an investigation into sleep quality by studying 50 voluntary participant drivers, and the effects of sleep on potential driving issues such as fatigue, concentration, cognitive performance and health and well-being of these drivers,” said Naomi Frauenfelder, HHTS CEO.
The research, according to Dr. Darren Wishart, Griffith University’s Chief Investigator on the project, will present an opportunity to better understand mental health and well being in this unique sector of the community.
“We hope to use the outcomes from this research to help improve safety for heavy vehicle drivers along with the health and well being within the heavy vehicle transport and logistics sector,” he said in a statement.
Information sourced from the findings will be used to inform future safety regulation and practices across the heavy vehicle industry.
Stakeholders, Neil Singleton, Insurance Commissioner from MAIC among them, are hopeful it will contribute to suitable and appropriate road safety and logistics mental health plan to look after industry workers.
Funding for the project has been provided by the MAIC with substantive in kind support from Healthy Heads in Trucks & Sheds including from both Foundation Members Woolworths and Linfox.