Common risk factors in the truck driving industry

Truck drivers have high rates of work-related injury and illness compared to other Australian workers.

A female truck driver looks at paperwork with a supervisor
Truck driving is the most common occupation amongst males in Australia, employing approximately 3% of male workers.

The long-haul driving workforce is rapidly ageing, and drivers may be exposed to many risk factors that can affect health and wellbeing such as;

  • long working hours
  • sedentary roles
  • social isolation
  • poor access to nutritious food
  • shift work
  • time pressure
  • low levels of job control
  • fatigue.  

Did you know most truck drivers spend between 41 and 60 hours per week driving long stretches of open road alone?

Truck drivers working hours per week

Pie graph shows 52 per cent for 41 to 60 hours, 37 per cent for over 60 hours and 11 per cent for less than or equal to 40 hours.

Here's what you need to know as an employer in this industry to keep your workers safe.

Musculoskeletal injuries, such as muscle sprains/strains and back injuries, are the most common for all truck drivers (around 60 percent of all accepted claims).

The typical time off work following a musculoskeletal injury was 5.2 weeks (median). In contrast, the typical time off work for a work-related mental health condition was almost double at 10.3 weeks (median).

What’s more, the rate of workers compensation claims in truck drivers for mental health conditions is highest in the 35 to 44-year age group.

Although mental health claims account for a small proportion of accepted claims, the median duration of these claims and time off work is much longer compared to physical-injury related claims.

Due to the isolated nature of work in the truck driving industry, your workers are at high risk of being exposed to mental health injuries. These injuries can be caused by stress built up from unrealistic scheduling as well as social isolation from long shifts.  

References:

Xia T, Iles R, S. N, Lubman D, Collie A. National Transport and Logistics Industry Health and Wellbeing Study Report No 1: Work related injury and disease in Australian transport sector workers. Melbourne, VIC: Insurance Work and Health Group, Faculty of Medicine Nursing and Health Sciences, Monash University; 2018.

Xia, T., Iles, R., Newnam. S., Lubman, D., & Collie, A. A Driving Health Study Report 2:  Work Related Injury and Disease In Australian Truck Drivers, Melbourne, VIC: Insurance Work and Health Group, Faculty of Medicine Nursing and Health Sciences, Monash University; 2018.

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