Ur­gent ac­tion is needed to ad­dress truck­ies’ health

Big Rigs - - BIG RIGS | NEWS -

THE TWU is call­ing for ur­gent ac­tion fol­low­ing the pub­li­ca­tion of a Monash Uni­ver­sity study show­ing high num­bers of truck driv­ers ac­cess­ing med­i­cal treat­ment, but that many are de­lay­ing help, in par­tic­u­lar for men­tal health prob­lems.

The study shows that truck driv­ers fol­low­ing a work in­jury are more likely to un­dergo surgery and have more doc­tor vis­its com­pared with other work­ers.

The re­search also re­veals that most of the health care that driv­ers ac­cess is pro­vided more than three months af­ter the in­jury.

For men­tal health ser­vices 92 per cent of driv­ers seek­ing treat­ment were wait­ing 14 weeks for help.

Feed­back from driv­ers polled re­cently by Big Rigs’ Queens­land con­trib­u­tor Alf Wil­son re­in­forces the need for ac­tion.

He says sev­eral driv­ers have called for the es­tab­lish­ment of a Truck­ies Sup­port Group for those suf­fer­ing any men­tal health is­sues.

These is­sues can be de­pres­sion, anx­i­ety, a break-up, be­ing lonely or any­thing that af­fects our men and women driv­ers.

“I feel that we need a group es­pe­cially for truck­ies which we can ring if have a prob­lem and talk to some­body who knows about the road trans­port in­dus­try,” said one.

TWU Na­tional Sec­re­tary Michael Kaine said the Monash study points to some se­ri­ous is­sues in our in­dus­try when driv­ers’ health is fail­ing.

“We need an ur­gent ac­tion to ad­dress the clear fail­ings in our in­dus­try,” TWU Na­tional Sec­re­tary Michael Kaine said.

“This study con­firms the ex­pe­ri­ence of many truck driv­ers, their fam­i­lies and those of us who work closely with them.

“We know driv­ers’ health is put at risk be­cause of the stress of the job.

“They are be­ing bashed, bro­ken and killed be­cause of chronic fa­tigue, un­re­al­is­tic dead­lines, long work­ing hours and so­cial iso­la­tion.

“These risk fac­tors must be ad­dressed by look­ing at what is caus­ing them – to do that we must look at the fi­nan­cial pres­sure from wealthy clients at the top which means driv­ers are con­stantly pushed to work harder.”

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