Workplace Safety & Compliance
Sleep related disorders contribute to 10K workplace injuries and 25K serious road crash injuries each year1
Up to 38% of Australian truck drivers have Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (OSA)1
Sleep deprivation has been linked to nuclear meltdowns, space shuttle accidents, and major oil spills2
Being tired affects motor functioning, memory, decision-making and problem-solving2
In Australia, fatigue is responsible for almost 10,000 serious workplace injuries and more than 25,000 serious road crash injuries each year, costing the Australian economy an estimated $5 billion a year in lost productivity and healthcare costs.1
There is up to a 50 per cent increased risk of occupational injury, absenteeism and error or safety violation attributed to fatigue in employees with a sleep disorder, with up to 45 per cent of individuals in safety sensitive occupations such as law enforcement and commercial transportation in this category.3
According to Worksafe, driver fatigue is a major safety hazard for all drivers and The Sleep Health Foundation stated that the accident rate of shift workers is double that of non-shift workers in Australia, and that it ‘is highly likely that much of this additional risk is sleep-related.4
Occupations with high risk of fatigue
- Shift workers
- Night workers
- Fly-in, fly-out workers (FIFO)
- Drive in, drive out (DIDO)
- On-call and call-back workers
- Commercial transport operators
Known Performance Impacts
- Reduced focus and information retention
- Decreased problem-solving ability
- Impacted ability to stay calm and make sound decisions under pressure
- Lowered emotional intelligence and ability to read complex situations
Commercial Driver and Operator Compliance
The Austroads Fitness to Drive standards state that driving a motor vehicle is a complex task requiring perception, good judgment, responsiveness and reasonable physical capability. A range of medical conditions, as well as treatments, may therefore impair driving ability.
All drivers should be screened for a sleep disorder if they report daytime sleepiness. This cannot be relied on alone when assessing a risk of having a sleep disorder which is why seeking an appointment with a medical practitioner such as your GP or a Sleep physician to determine if a sleep study should be performed.
A full explanation and breakdown of Road Safety Fitness can be found on the Austroads website.
Assessing Fitness to Drive
Assessing Fitness to Drive contains two sets of medical standards – private vehicle driver standards and commercial vehicle driver standards.
The choice of which standards to apply when examining a patient for fitness to drive is guided by both the type of vehicle and the purpose for which the driver is being authorised to drive.
Commercial Standards Application
- Drivers of 'heavy vehicles' i.e. those holding or applying for a licence of class MR (Medium Rigid)
- HR (Heavy Rigid), HC (Heavy Combination) or MC (Multi-combination)
- Drivers applying for an authority /already authorised to carry public passengers for hire or reward (bus drivers, taxi drivers, chauffeurs, drivers of hire cars and small buses etc)
- Drivers applying for an authority / already authorised to carry bulk dangerous goods.
NOTE: A person who does not meet the commercial vehicle medical criteria may still be eligible to retain a private vehicle driver licence. In such cases, both sets of standards may need to be consulted.
IMPORTANT. A minimum of a Level 2 Sleep Study is required for commercial operator testing and Sleep Physician consultations are mandatory for commercial drivers with a positive result for OSA.