Are you putting your employees at risk behind the wheel_

Published on 08 Aug 2019

OT Driving Assessments are designed to assess an employee’s functional or psychological impairment and to develop a program to maintain or return to safe and independent driving.

Ergonomic modifications, adaptive driving equipment, redesigning a cockpit or remediation strategies are common recommendations from a driving assessment.

ABS data show that the number of workers in the Road Transport industry has swelled by 16% over the 13 years from 2003 to 2015. It now accounts for 2% of the Australian workforce.

Despite substantial reductions in the rates of injuries and fatalities in this industry over the last decade, the Road Transport industry accounted for 17% of work-related fatalities in 2015, and 4% of serious workers’ compensation claims in 2014-15 - rates substantially higher than the all industry average.

Employees at high risk and who may benefit from a driving assessment include:

  • Those returning to work after a compensation claim or recent health change
  • Drivers who have had repeat accidents
  • Employees that may require fatigue management training (e.g. shift workers or workers driving in remote areas)
  • Ageing drivers
  • Drivers with restrictions on their commercial driver’s licence or open drivers’ licence (such as diabetes, epilepsy or sleep apnoea)
  • Young or inexperienced drivers

Other reasons to refer an employee for a driving assessment include:

  • Where there is a concern regarding a worker’s suitability and safety for driving as their primary work role. Concerns regarding a worker’s suitability include functional capacity and medical status
  • Where driving is aggravating the worker’s symptoms
  • The worker’s symptoms are impacting on their safe ability to drive
  • If your worker stopped driving due to an injury or disease, and they wish to explore the possibility of returning to driving. This is important if driving is their primary mode of transport and/or part of their work duties.

OT driving assessments may include:

  • Clinical examination and specific driver testing
  • On-road practical examination (in car, heavy vehicle or plant as per requirement)
  • Ergonomic assessment of proposed vehicle, and modification or adaptation where necessary
  • Collaborating with our driving instructor colleagues in a Driver Retraining service, focusing on areas such as driving behaviours, compensatory techniques and safety
  • Driver fatigue management programs
  • Post-accident injury management and return to driving, including desensitisation counselling and
  • PTSD support for traumatic circumstances

Want to know more?

Contact the APM Brisbane team on 1300 967 522.

Author Tim Williams is a Lead Consultant in Brisbane. Tim has over 10 years of Occupational Therapist Driving Assessment experience and can assess employees in cars, trucks and heavy machinery. Tim is a specialist in commercial driver services and has completed extended training to deliver these services.

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