The physical and mental health of road train drivers was the focus of an initiative at Frasers Livestock Transport's Warwick depot just prior to Christmas.
Attended by federal Assistant Minister for Road Safety and Freight Transport Scott Buchholz, it's the third time the livestock trucking company has held a 'Yarn in the Yard' and Warwick Fraser said it was a chance to stop and reflect on the business, its people and what they could learn for the year ahead.
"Our employees do a power of work throughout the year, often out on the road on their own, so the chance to get the blokes together in the yard once or twice a year to give them a pat on the back is important for their personal health and the health of the business," he said.
"My grandfather always said, people do business with people.
"The 'Yarn in the Yard' is about an investment of time back into our people, reminding the blokes that they are not alone, and making sure that everyone is heading in the same direction"
Mr Buchholz commended Frasers on the initiative, saying that COVID-19 meant that workers in the sector had experienced higher levels of stress during the pandemic.
He said the increased workloads, extended time away from home and long hours on the road took a toll on drivers' physical and mental health.
"It is a fantastic initiative of Frasers helping drivers keep on top of their physical health with health awareness talks and free heart checks from the Heart of Australia," he said.
Other presentations included a session on fatigue from the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator, an address on the Paraplegic Benefit Fund, an update from the Queensland Police Service and Transport and Main Roads, and an animal welfare update from Biosecurity Queensland.
Afterwards, there were opportunities for drivers and management to catch up with the presenters and industry leaders over a casual BBQ lunch.
Mr Buchholz asked all drivers to be mindful of their mental and physical health, every day.
"I would encourage all transport operators to consider hold a 'Yarn in the Yard' type event with your staff," he said.
Troy Redman, a Frasers driver with over 20 years experience in livestock handling, was one of those who took part and said the best thing was being able to talk face-to-face with presenters about more sensitive questions that they couldn't ask in a group.
"All the presenters had great message and I learnt a lot," he said. "Frasers is a company where all the drivers work as a team, we watch out for each other, and we respect the family as they are very approachable and listen to our concerns."