12 July 2019

Staying safe on the road: issues for truck drivers

In recent years road freight transport workers have been identified as a Safe Work Australia priority, with strategies aimed at reducing serious injuries by 30% and fatalities by 20% by 2022.

thumbnail stay safe on the road2According to Safe Work Australia, the road transport industry accounts for 2% of the Australian workforce but 4% of workers’ compensation claims for injuries and diseases involving one or more weeks off work.

Campaigns addressing the safety and maintenance of vehicles, the need for regular periodic rest breaks and public road use awareness of safety around trucks have highlighted these issues.

Health risks for truck drivers include

  • fatigue from working long hours or shift work
  • stress of meeting constrained deadlines
  • working at elevation (cabs and truck trays)
  • exposure to airborne hazards from some loads.

Updated regulations specify rest period intervals for different types, weights and configurations of vehicles, while the introduction of electronic log books helps ensure they are observed. Gallagher National Head of Transport Roz Shaw says that in-cab monitoring systems are a tangible means of improving safety records and fleet efficiency.

Common short-term conditions include

  • musculoskeletal injuries of the neck and back; nearly 50% of reported workplace injuries are sprains and strains
  • falls and slips from an elevated position
  • injuries from accidents, collisions or rollovers.

Controlling a heavy vehicle can be physically demanding work, along with loading and unloading activities, and although drivers are highly skilled, trucks are over-represented in road accidents in situations which result in serious injuries and fatalities.

Longer term issues include

  • repetitive strain injuries such as neck and back pain or carpal tunnel syndrome
  • diseases of the circulatory system such as stroke, heart failure and coronary artery disease
  • gas and fume exposure.

The risks associated with mainly sedentary occupations that involve repetitive movements are becoming more understood, highlighting the needs for regular breaks and stretching, and incidence of circulatory diseases is related to the need for adults to have 30 minutes’ exercise a day.

Dangerous goods form a distinct category of freight with its own set of health and safety precautions which must be observed.

Avoiding financial stress

If you are an owner driver or employee of a business not being able to work due to a health condition can cause severe financial anxiety. Talk to us about income protection insurance and experience the peace of mind that comes from knowing that if anything happens to you, both you and your family are covered financially for the time it takes for you to recover.

Want to know more about safeguarding your transport and logistics employees?

Gallagher provides insurance protection to businesses of all sizes, from sole operators to some of the world’s most iconic brands.  Talk to a Gallagher transport and logistics team insurance specialist in your area.

Learn more about our transport practice and how we can help your business