According to a report on trucking website Fullyloaded.com.au, the Australian Trucking Association (ATA) has released the first in a series of health fact sheets that will be released throughout the course of the year.
The very first fact sheet released focuses on a particularly problematic issue among truckies – sleep apnoea. Sleep apnoea is an extreme cause of fatigue which can be attributed with causing many crashes on our roads.
The CEO of the ATA Stuart St Clair said the new initiative was launched to help raise awareness of the important health issues in the trucking industry, beginning with the first issue on obstructive sleep apnoea. The first in the series of health fact sheets was released to its members this week.
Sleep apnoea is actually an extremely hazardous and dangerous condition for anyone, but especially for truck drivers and anyone else who relies on their alertness to remain safe on the road and execute their work functions efficiently.
Drivers who suffer from sleep apnoea and other fatigue management issues should find the fact sheet helpful as it has been developed in partnership with the Sleep Health Foundation. The ATA says this is an extremely relevant issue for truckies because sleep apnoea affects almost half (around 40 per cent) of the nation’s long distance truck drivers.
In the fact sheet truckies will find information on the symptoms of sleep apnoea such as fatigue and heavy snoring as well as actions that drivers can take to diagnose the condition and steps they can take to treat it.
Mr St. Clair was quoted as saying:
“We’ve designed the fact sheets so operators can use them as the basis of a staff briefing or toolbox talk, as well as printing them for the staff noticeboard,” St Clair says.
“New fact sheets will be released to ATA members throughout the year. It’s part of our efforts to make sure that trucking a healthy, safe and professional industry of choice, now and in the future.”
The fact sheet developed in conjunction with the Sleep Health Foundation, the ATA says has been produced and released to its members to help make the industry healthier and safer. Professor Doug McEvoy from the Sleep Health Foundation said that many people with sleep apnoea aren’t even aware that they have the condition. The article on Fullyloaded.com.au went on to quote the Professor,
“Sleep apnoea has a serious impact on every aspect of a sufferer’s life,” he says, adding that it is treatable.
“We are delighted to partner with the trucking industry for this important awareness initiative, and strongly encourage trucking operators to use these sheets to help improve the health and wellbeing of their workforce.”
When you consider that some of the consequences of sleep apnoea include high blood pressure or hypertension, ischemic heart disease characterised by poor blood flow to the heart, an irregular heart rate, heart attacks, heart failure, pulmonary hypertension which is the elevation of blood pressure in blood vessels of the lungs, not to mention the risk drivers are placing themselves and other road users at, it is important that drivers address this issue and any other fatigue related problems they may have. Hopefully drivers will not only read the fact sheet but heed the advice given.