- Category: Issue 1
Driver fatigue identified as a top health and safety risk for trucking operations in Ontario
Top 10 root causes of driver fatigue among professional truck drivers in Ontario
In February 2020, Ontario’s Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development (MLTSD) in partnership with the Infrastructure Health and Safety Association (IHSA) organized a group of industry experts that met for two days to determine the root causes of driver fatigue in Ontario’s trucking sector. As part of their work, they also developed critical controls and specific activities that could be put in place to address driver fatigue in Ontario’s general trucking industry.
The list of the top 10 causes of driver fatigue, as identified by workers, supervisors, and employers in Ontario’s trucking sector is displayed in the infographic on pages 34-35 of Private Motor Carrier. More detailed information on the top causes of driver fatigue among professional truck drivers, is discussed in the accompanying technical paper available at www.ihsa.ca/driverfatigue.
Identifying solutions and controls
After identifying the top 10 causal factors of driver fatigue, the group of subject matter experts, led by Dr. Sujoy Dey of the MLTSD, identified possible solutions and controls for the top ranked risks. During the discussions, similar themes and proposed controls kept emerging that informed five key recommendations:
- classify truck driving as a skilled trade (Red Seal),
- review and address critical training gaps in mandatory entry-level training (MELT),
- mandatory graduated licensing for all truck drivers,
- greater enforcement of carriers who are non-compliant with the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) and the Highway Traffic Act, and
- promote mental health and wellness among professional truck drivers.
These recommendations provide a foundation for the reduction in driver fatigue by focussing on systemic causal factors and not just the symptoms of driver fatigue. The trucking industry should focus immediately on addressing these five key recommendations.
“The group of industry experts shared their experience, made suggestions, and proposed potential controls to address the primary causal factors and identified systemic weaknesses in the industry,” says Michelle Roberts, IHSA Director, Stakeholder & Client Engagement. “IHSA is proud of our work as an advocate for improving professional truck driver training, non-compliant carrier enforcement, and the importance of driver mental health and wellness. This work is a strong first step toward meaningful changes for safer and healthier workplaces for professional truck drivers.”