07 February 2023
#Transport, Shipping & Logistics, #Workplace Relations & Safety
Following on from its regulatory advice on physical health, the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) has released an advice on mental health. Below is a rundown of this latest regulatory advice.
This advice is relevant for all parties in the chain of responsibility (CoR), especially employers, heavy vehicle drivers and other workers.
Mental health and wellbeing is a significant issue in the heavy vehicle industry. According to the NHVR, workers in this industry, particularly drivers, are disproportionately represented in poor mental health and suicide statistics, with suicide being a leading cause of death for drivers.
It won’t come as a surprise to those in the field to know that poor mental health can adversely affect the performance of drivers and other workers in the industry. It can affect decision-making processes, cause momentary lapses in concentration and can even cause drivers to crash.
Creating a work environment that is conducive to positive mental health can have significant safety and other benefits for drivers and other workers, their employers and other road users.
Just like physical health, mental health considerations are extrinsically linked to ensuring the safety of a business’ transport activities. As part of businesses’ primary duty under section 26C of the Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL), employers have an obligation to manage, as far as reasonably practicable, the risk of psychological hazards.
Executives also have a distinct duty under section 26D of the HVNL to exercise due diligence to ensure their business complies with this primary duty.
The legal consequences of failing to comply with these duties range from education and improvement notices to prosecution.
According to the NHVR, the main mental health concerns and conditions prevalent in the industry are anxiety and depression. A mental health concern will become a mental health condition when it is more severe and of a longer duration.
The advice lists the following benefits of building a mentally healthy workplace:
As mentioned above, parties in the CoR must, as far as reasonably practicable, reduce or eliminate psychological hazards. According to the NHVR, some of the psychological hazards that may exist in the heavy vehicle industry include:
All of the above psychological hazards run the risk of leading to mental health concerns and conditions in the workplace.
The advice provides a number of suggested practical steps for CoR parties, drivers and other workers for tackling and improving mental health and wellbeing in the workplace. By way of example, some of the suggested steps for parties in the CoR are to:
To see more of the practicable steps suggested by the NHVR for drivers and other workers, you can access the full advice here.
If you have any questions about this article, please get in touch with partner Nathan Cecil or a member of our Transport, Shipping & Logistics team using the contact details below.
The information in this article is of a general nature and is not intended to address the circumstances of any particular individual or entity. Although we endeavour to provide accurate and timely information, we do not guarantee that the information in this article is accurate at the date it is received or that it will continue to be accurate in the future.