Health risks to transport workers revealed in new study

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A new study found out that transport workers are up to five times more likely to suffer an injury at work than any other Australian worker, with rail drivers 30 times more likely to develop a mental health condition than any other worker.

The first report of the National Transport Industry Health and Wellbeing Study has been released on Friday by the Insurance Work and Health Group at Monash University.

The research, supported by Linfox Logistics and the Transport Workers Union, comes from the first stage of a detailed national study evaluating the health and safety of workers in the transport industry.

“Nothing could be more important than the safety, health, and wellbeing of our people and in the industry at large. This study forms part of our ongoing work to develop proactive strategies that empower our people to look after themselves and each other,” said Linfox Logistics General Manager of HR Lauren Pemberton.

“Gaining deeper insights into common risk factors will allow us to refine our strategies and help shape the future health of our industry.

“Our Healthy Fox and Vision Zero programs underpin our approach to health and safety at Linfox and the results of this study will provide us even stronger insights to improve the health of our people,” she said.

Alex Collie, professor, and director of the Insurance Work and Health Group at Monash University said transport workers were subject to a unique set of health risks in their working environment. These include sedentary jobs, long working hours and shift work, isolation, fatigue and sleep deprivation, etc.

“This study presents a national picture of the health of people working in the transport and logistics industry. Prior studies have focused on safety and specific groups of workers. We used a large and detailed national database of work injury claims to examine a range of different injuries and diseases that affect workers across the whole industry,” said Professor Collie.

“Our ultimate aim is to develop programs and services that can prevent illness and injury in the transport sector, and help people recover and return to work when they become sick.”

Transport Workers Union national assistant secretary, Michael Kane, said the report’s findings show that “pressures on transport workers, including long hours away from family, chronic fatigue and the stresses of meeting deadlines, are clearly taking their toll.”

“It should serve as yet another example of the need for a check on the transport supply chain, to ensure that the major clients at the top are being held to account for the pressure they exert on the industry and its workforce,” he said.

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