Truck Drivers Urged to Make Sleep A Priority

Australia’s leading sleep associations are urging the trucking industry to make sleep a priority when they are off duty.

During TruckWeek 2012 the Australasian Sleep Association and the Sleep Health Foundation are raising awareness of the importance of getting adequate sleep in between shifts.

Dr David Hillman, Chair, Sleep Health Foundation said, “A workplace can be considered ‘best practice’ but fatigue related accidents will still occur if drivers don’t get adequate sleep before they start a shift.

“Sleep should be seen as a priority, it is essential for safety and well-being that truck drivers obtain sufficient sleep away from work in order to perform at their optimum when on duty.”

Associate Professor Shantha Rajaratnam, President, Australasian Sleep Association, said, “Fatigue is a significant factor contributing to our road toll.  By implementing policies that address hours of service regulations, dedicated rest breaks, workplace medical checks and an increase in roadside truck stops companies will see an improvement in the health and safety of truck drivers”.

“These strategies will make the workplace safer and more productive, and our roads a safer place to drive.”

The Australasian Sleep Association continues to seek new and better ways to improve safety and productivity and has recently established an Occupational Health, Safety and Performance Scientific Investigation Group.

Dr Mark Howard, Head of the Occupational Health, Safety and Performance scientific investigation group said, “the group aims to look into the impact of shift work, sleepiness and sleep disorders on driving performance, daytime functioning, and health. A better understanding of the influence of fatigue and sleep disorders on driving safety will help us to develop strategies that will make the industry even safer”.
 

In Canberra, politicians will be attending a briefing breakfast where Australian researcher Lisa Sharwood will present her latest research which revealed that over 40 per cent of Australian long distance truck drivers suffer from Obstructive Sleep Apnoea. However, the Epworth sleepiness scale currently used in driver medicals only picks up 12.2 per cent, leaving the majority of these apnoea sufferers undiagnosed and untreated.

Downloadable fact sheets are available at www.sleephealthfoundation.org.au

For more information contact:

Lucy Williams: 0403 753 028