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Improving the health of Australian truck drivers project

For: Employers and managers Information seekers

Driving Health is a national transport sector research study to understand and improve the health and wellbeing of drivers.


Project update

Nationwide research involving almost 1400 drivers and their families revealed a health crisis facing the transport sector. Truck drivers reported high levels of obesity, chronic pain and psychological distress indicating a need for additional supports to continue to do their vital work safely.

Comcare is collaborating with project partners and transport industry representatives to develop initiatives that can support the physical and mental health of drivers.

Project overview

Project details

The aim of this research project is to undertake the largest survey of Australian drivers to identify the factors important to both good and poor health.

Truck driving is the number one employer of Australian males, however driving for a living poses many health threats. For example:

  • truck drivers are 13 times more likely to die at work than other workers
  • crashes alone account for 17 per cent of the burden of disability due to illness and injury
  • musculoskeletal injuries account for 76,000 lost weeks of work every year.

Research to date has focused almost exclusively on driver safety. The study will enable the identification and delivery of evidence-based interventions that can be implemented by employers, regulators, drivers and others in the sector to improve mental and physical health across the industry.

This project is a collaboration between researchers, employers, unions, and government. Comcare is contributing to the project in line with our purpose to promote and enable safe and healthy work and as part of our commitment to driving better practice across the scheme.

Project participants

Comcare is supporting the following project partners:

  • Monash University
  • NSW Centre for Work Health Safety
  • Linfox
  • Transport Workers Union.

Findings and reports

  • Driving Health project reports

    Report 1: Work-related injury and disease in Australian transport sector workers
    Report 2: Profile of work-related injury and disease in truck drivers
    Report 3: Health care use in truck drivers
    Report 4: Use of medications following work-related injury and illness in truck drivers
    Report 5: Analysis of life insurance claims data
    Report 6: Survey of the physical and mental health of Australian professional drivers
    Report 7: Uneven wear: health & wellbeing of professional truck drivers.

  • Driving Health findings – infographic (PDF, 158.5 KB)

Resources

The Driving Health study has revealed high levels of obesity, chronic pain and psychological distress amongst Australian truck drivers. Employers are encouraged to promote worker access to health & wellbeing resources.


Why this research is important

This project is part of our Research Plan Towards 2022 and supports our purpose to enable healthy and safe workplaces.

Our workplaces are changing and this introduces new risks alongside opportunities for innovative ways to prevent harm and minimise the impact of injury and illness.

In 2017-18, Australia saw more than 100,000 serious claims for compensation, where an illness or injury required more than a week off from work. In 2012-13, the financial cost of injury and illness compensation was $61.8 billion.

This research is important because it helps us to prevent harm in our workplaces and learn new and improved ways to keep employees healthy and safe at work.


More information

For more information on this research project or to get involved, email research@comcare.gov.au.

Page last reviewed: 04 February 2021
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Comcare
GPO Box 9905, Canberra, ACT 2601
1300 366 979 | www.comcare.gov.au

Date printed 03 Aug 2021

https://www.comcare.gov.au/safe-healthy-work/research-evidence/research-projects/truck-drivers-health-research-project