Truckies gone to the dogs

Pippi, Prinny and Spud truly work like dogs. The three whippets love nothing more than joining their owners on weekly hauls between Gippsland and Brisbane.

For partners and truckies, Carly and Adam, having them for company helps keep their mental health in check during the long, and often lonely, drives.

Adam comes from a family of truck drivers and has seen first-hand the tough mental load they have to endure. He said taking his dogs on the road with him has helped manage his own mental health during some difficult years as they offer companionship, affection and a good excuse for frequent rest stops and dog walking.

In recognition of National Take Your Dog to Work Day, Carly and Adam are teaming up with the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) to raise awareness surrounding the mental health issues that can impact truck drivers and how bringing a furry friend to work can help.

The NHVR said it is well-documented that pets in the workplace have calming effects on many people by reducing stress and offering a social support which in turn can improve employee health and well-being and increase productivity.

Carly and Adam say their dogs can sense when they aren’t in a good headspace and will give them a nudge.

According to a Work-Related Mental Disorders Profile by Safe Work Australia, the transport and logistics industry has one of the highest rates of claims for work-related mental disorders, with 44.8 per cent its workers having experienced a mental health condition.

Analysis by the Coroners Court of Victoria (2008-2014) showed truck drivers had the highest number of suicides of any profession.

“We’re seeing several truck drivers, like Carly and Adam, taking their dogs to work with them for the positive impact it has on their mental, emotional, and social health,” said NHBR Executive Director of Corporate Affairs Michelle Tayler.

“Truck drivers deal with numerous on-the-job stressors, including spending long periods of time away from family and friends which can create a sense of isolation.

“With shift work being a part of most truck drivers’ jobs, routine can be hard to maintain, so often poor diet and lack of exercise can all be contributing factors that lead to an increase in mental health conditions and suicide in the sector.”

Over the years the NHVR has partnered with charitable foundation Healthy Heads in Trucks & Sheds on several initiatives to ensure resources are available to reduce mental health issues in truck drivers.

“Transport and logistics workers are an often-invisible workforce that support the nation every day and through particularly challenging times as we have witnessed in recent years,” said Health Heads in Trucks & Sheds CEO Naomi Frauenfelder.

“Unfortunately, road transport, warehousing and logistics workers are often faced with a unique set of risk-factors impacting physical and mental health.”

Send this to a friend