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One thousand heavy vehicle drivers are being tested at truck stops for health risks until 10 February.

The testing is part of a joint initiative between Safe Work Australia, National Transport Commission, preventionXpress and the Institute for Breathing and Sleeping to improve truck driver health.

The testing started in December 2013, and drivers in New South Wales and Victoria are being tested from 26 January until 10 February.

Drivers are offered a free, confidential, 10-minute health check conducted by a preventionXpress health professional. It involves testing height, weight, blood pressure and a blood prick test for diabetes, and a lifestyle questionnaire.

“Through the health checks truck drivers will learn more about their risk of Australia’s five major chronic preventable diseases like heart disease and type 2 diabetes,” says Safe Work Australia.

“Personal health risk factors like alcohol, tobacco, balanced diet, physical activity, effective sleep pattern, fatigue and psychological health and wellbeing will also be identified.”

Any at risk drivers will be referred to their GP.

The de-identified health information collected at the truck stops will be reported to the National Transport Commission and Safe Work Australia and used to create preventative health programs for the road freight transport industry.

For more details visit the testing initiative.

Published on 30 January 2014 in NSCA Safe-T-Bulletin.

A significant proportion of nurses and midwives will leave the nursing profession over the next 12 months due to high workloads, says a new survey.

Monash University Department of Management conducted a national survey of nurses and midwives on behalf of the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation (ANMF).

The survey follows on from one conducted in 2011.

The latest results from 2012 show that 23 per cent of nurses and midwives are likely to leave the profession in the next year. This is an eight per cent increase on the last survey.

Also, 33 per cent nurses and midwives frequently think about leaving and 41 per cent will explore other career opportunities.

“More nurses than ever are contemplating leaving the profession due to heavy workloads and a lack of recognition and respect within their organisation,” says Monash University researcher Dr Belinda Allen in a media release.

An inadequate nurse-to-patient ratio is a key problem. “This concern is widespread across the profession – it is not just limited to staff in hospitals but also in mental health and aged care,” Allen said.

Also, almost half of the respondents said “they did not feel confident that senior management would treat them fairly or could be trusted to make sensible decision in relation to their organisation’s future”, Allen added.

“Many indicated senior management showed poor recognition and respect for nursing work, highlighted by the number of nurses being reduced first when budget cuts were required, thereby increasing the workload on the remaining staff.”

Some 23 per cent of nurses and midwives who responded to the survey are working double shifts, ANMF Federal Secretary Lee Thomas said in a media statement.

“Nurses and midwives are stressed and exhausted and are working under conditions which are putting safe patient care at risk. In one instance, two nurses on night duty caring for 23 mentally unstable patients,” Thomas said.

For more details, visit Monash University and ANMF.

Published on 12 September 2013 in NSCA Safe-T-Bulletin.


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