Taking action on drivers’ health

At the 2012 Australian Trucking Convention, transport operators will be able to join Lisa Sharwood from the George Institute for Global Health and Don Osterberg from Schneider National as they discuss the dangers of sleep apnoea in drivers.

Sleep apnoea is a condition where a person has difficulty breathing whilst asleep, causing their sleep to be disturbed. This can then lead to daytime sleepiness, fatigue, and poor reaction times. However, people with sleep apnoea are often unaware of it.

Lisa Sharwood is the lead author of a study into sleep apnoea in commercial truck drivers. Her research, recently published in international science journal Sleep, showed that while some 40 per cent of drivers may suffer from sleep apnoea, only 12 per cent are picked up under the current medical requirements.

A critical care nurse by training, Lisa is well aware of the dangers of sleepiness in long distance drivers and continues to highlight the risk of leaving these health issues unattended.

To find out how to address this issue, Don Osterberg from Schneider National in the US will outline the processes he has used to great effect in his own company. Shortly after Don’s arrival at Schneider in 2004, he met with the grieving family of William Badger – killed when a Schneider driver fell asleep behind the wheel.

Don’s promise to the family was that the tragedy would not be in vain. Six years later, William’s daughter Dawn was the one to present Don with the first ever Distinguished Safety Leadership award at the Sleep Apnoea and Trucking Conference in 2010. At the 2012 Australian Trucking Convention, transport operators will have a chance to discuss the issue first hand with both Lisa and Don.

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