Truck Drivers in Australia Deadliest Job: Study

Truck drivers are 13 times more likely to die at work than any other profession while the long hours, social isolation, time pressure and lack of job control also make it one of the unhealthiest jobs, according to the study which based its findings on compensation claims over a 12-year period.

The study, conducted by Monash University, also shows there are serious implications for the wider economy because of truck driver health and safety, with 1 million weeks of work lost because of injury.

The study shows there were 545 compensated fatalities among truck drivers over a 12 year period (which is 13 times higher than the figure for all other workers).

Three out of four truck driver deaths are due to vehicle crashes, while other major fatality risks include being hit or hitting objects as well as falls, trips and slips.

Other key findings include:

  • Work-related injuries and diseases resulted in over 120,000 accepted compensation claims between 2004-2015. This amounted to over 1 million lost weeks of work.
  • 17 per cent of this working time loss was due to vehicle crashes. The remaining 83 per cent of these weeks lost were due to other causes such as slips and trips, falls, noise, physical and psychological stress.
  • Musculoskeletal injuries and fractures made up the vast bulk of accepted claims.
  • Mental health is a major factor when the amount of time needed off is taken into consideration: half of drivers with mental health conditions were off work for 10 weeks or longer.

“Long‐haul truck drivers may be exposed to multiple risk factors in their workplace including long working hours, sedentary roles, poor nutrition, social isolation, shift work, time pressure, low levels of job control, and fatigue,” the study said.

“Truck drivers are exposed to a variety of occupational stressors such as constant time pressures, social isolation, disrespectful treatment from others, driving hazards and violence or fear of violence.”

For more information about the study, download the report here (1.7MB)  

Source: Safety Institute of Australia, 23 August 2018