Road safety health and wellbeing research pilot

Healthy Heads in Trucks & Sheds (HHTS) will partner with Griffith University in a research project funded by the Motor Accident Insurance Commission (MAIC) to better understand mental health and wellbeing within the transport and logistics sector.

It also aims to understand how mental health and wellbeing can impact on distraction and fatigue and the role these factors play in crashes and injury.

The project will involve survey interviews with voluntary participant drivers from Linfox and Woolworths Group in both regional and metro distribution centres across Queensland.

According to HHTS, 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% of Australian heavy vehicle drivers demonstrating some sign of depression. Those who have been clinically diagnosed are seven times more likely to have been involved in a road crash.

This is Healthy Heads’ first research study. The organisation hopes that the outcomes of the project will help in recommending appropriate and effective strategies to facilitate positive change across the sector and help inform policy.

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.

CEO of HHTS Naomi Frauenfelder said, “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.”

Griffith University’s Chief Investigator on the project Dr Darren Wishart added, “This research will give us the opportunity to better understand mental health and wellbeing 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 wellbeing within the heavy vehicle transport and logistics sector.”

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. The project is expected to run for approximately 18 months.

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