Sleep deprivation, fatigue and drowsiness contribute to trucking accidents on BC roads every year. Many instances of drivers lacking sufficient sleep come down to pressures of the job and choices made by drivers and management about driver health.
Managing work schedules is often one of the best starting points in helping drivers stay awake and alert while on the job.
According to the Mayo Clinic’s general guidelines, the average adult requires between seven and nine hours of sleep to stay healthy. Professional drivers are not always able to get the kind of uninterrupted shut-eye most workers enjoy.
JBT Transport, with offices at 3772 St Catherines St, Vancouver, has published four tips for professional drivers to avoid sleep deprivation.
1) Eat small dinners – with your stomach working overtime, it’s hard to fall asleep.
2) Read a book. Reading with a dim light will ease your mind into a restful state.
3) Practice deep breathing. You’ll quickly fall asleep.
4) Take a quick nap at truck stops if you’re still tired the next day.
SafetyDriven has also developed a handy Fatigue Management Toolkit that includes posters, videos and more! Great idea for your next health and safety committee meeting.
Obstructive Sleep Apnea
Of all the sleep disorders faced by professional drivers, Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) is one of the most common. OSA can impair driving performance and increase the possibility of accidents.
Shelley Perlman, MD, CCFP, FRCPC, Medical Advisor, WorkSafeBC Occupational Diseases and Internal Medicine wrote in the BC Medical Journal, “Sleep Apnea is a chronic medical condition that is associated with excessive daytime sleepiness, inattention, and fatigue. It may impair daily function, induce or exacerbate cognitive deficits, and increase the likelihood of errors and injuries.”