TOTAL WORKER HEALTH® TOOLKIT
Improving sleep, reducing fatigue, and impacting Total Worker Health for team truck drivers
Insufficient sleep is related to workplace safety, high risk for obesity, chronic disease, and early mortality. Truck driving teams, where one driver sleeps in a moving vehicle while the other partner drives, face especially challenging sleeping conditions.
The Tech4Rest study used the hierarchy of controls applied to Total Worker Health® to select and evaluate interventions to improve the sleep, health, and well-being of team truck drivers. This approach prioritized changing working conditions in the truck cab first and then supplementing those changes with a behavioral program.
Enhanced cab features include a therapeutic mattress system and an active suspension seat.
An evidence-informed behavioral sleep and health program.
The Tech4Rest pilot study findings included:
The therapeutic mattress altered patterns in vibration exposures improved sleep compared to a coil spring mattress and were universally preferred by drivers.
Consistent with prior studies, the active suspension seat substantially reduced whole-body vibrations.
The combination of cab enhancements plus the behavioral sleep health program produced the largest improvements to driver sleep and fatigue.
Outcomes from a randomized controlled trial are forthcoming. See this two-page document for a summary of the benefits of active suspension seats for commercial drivers for reducing musculoskeletal symptoms and fatigue.
*The Tech4Rest page was last reviewed and updated in June 2022
“With the seat, what you guys provide, it's comfortable. It's a little more couching and you don't feel the truck vibration on jumping too much. You feel more comfortable. It's way better. It's definitely way better.”
-Quote from anonymous participant in the Tech4Rest study
Why Adopt Tech4Rest?
Compared to solo drivers who sleep in parked vehicles, team drivers have twice as many awakenings per night, with vehicle movements and vibrations implicated as the most important contributing factor. Sleep deficiency (insufficient quantity and/or quality of sleep) is linked to occupational safety and vehicle crashes and also with chronic disease, and early mortality. The sleep-challenged and sedentary trucking environment can easily trap drivers in ever-worsening negative feedback loops between sleep, health, and safety.
We developed Tech4Rest to address these organizational concerns and improve employee outcomes. Find out more about how we developed Tech4Rest.
The Tech4Rest toolkit was developed by Dr. Ryan, Olson, Ph.D. and his team at Oregon Healthy Workforce Center. Learn more about Dr. Olson and his research at OHSU.
The Science Behind Tech4Rest
The Tech4Rest program was developed based on previous effective interventions. Our previous research has demonstrated that industry-standard passive, air suspension seat has substantially higher whole-body vibration exposures relative to the active-suspension seat. This study also showed that higher levels of whole-body vibration exposures adversely affect the vigilance of truck drivers and contribute to cognitive fatigue.
The Tech4Rest Intervention study was a NIOSH-funded randomized controlled trial focusing on team truck drivers. The Tech4Rest study aimed to learn more about how team truck drivers manage their sleep and fatigue, and also evaluate technologies that may impact driver sleep and fatigue.
The Tech4Rest intervention was composed of:
An enhanced cab intervention that utilizes a therapeutic mattress system and an active suspension seat to alter whole-body vibrations during driving and sleep periods.
A behavioral sleep intervention has been adapted from our effective SHIFT (Safety & Health Involvement For Truckers) program.
The Tech4Rest intervention was tested with team truck drivers around the United States. Outcomes from a randomized controlled trial are forthcoming. See this two-page document for a summary of the benefits of active suspension seats for commercial drivers for reducing musculoskeletal symptoms and fatigue.
The behavioral intervention is adapted from the SHIFT program which originally targeted weight loss among truck drivers. SHIFT is a 6-month group weight loss competition supported by weekly behavior and body weight logging, behavioral computer-based training (healthy weight loss, sleep, eating, and exercise), and individual motivational interviewing (up to 4 interviews). SHIFT has been established as effective in a cluster randomized controlled trial. The intervention produced a significant and medically meaningful mean difference of -1.0 BMI units between groups. The intervention also has a demonstrated track record of producing moderate-to-large improvements in driver physical activity (sleep protective), which is leveraged in the Tech4Rest adaptation to improve sleep.
Funding for Tech4Rest was provided by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH; grant: U19OH010154).
The results reported herein correspond to specific aims of the project ‘‘Engineering & Behavioral Controls for Truck Drivers’ Sleep, Safety, & Health’’ (Ryan Olson and Peter Johnson, MPIs) within the Oregon Healthy Workforce Center, funded by the National Institute for Occupational Safety & Health (grant number U19OH010154, Leslie Hammer and Ryan Olson MPIs). This work was also supported by a Safety and Health Improvement Project grant from the State of Washington (grant number 2014YH00280, Pete Johnson and Ryan Olson MPIs), and the Oregon Institute of Occupational Health Sciences at OHSU via funds from the Division of Consumer and Business Services of the State of Oregon (ORS 656.630).
Olson, R., Johnson, P., Shea, S., Marino, M., Rimby, J., Womack, K., Wang, F., Springer, R., Donovan, C., & Rice, S. (2020). Advancing the safety, health, and well-being of commercial driving teams who sleep in moving semi-trucks: The Tech4rest pilot study. Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, 62 (12), 1082-1096. doi: 10.1097/JOM.0000000000002063
References for Two-Pager on "Benefits Semi-Active and Active Seat Suspension Technologies for Commercial Drivers
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