Short Trips and Long Days: Safety and Health in Short-Haul Trucking
This paper looks at the role and influence of contingent employment among short-haul truckers, an occupational group that has been little studied to date. A 2003 survey of Australian short-haul drivers examined the predictors of health and safety outcomes for all drivers and provided comparative information on the working hours, occupational safety and health, and work-life conflict of permanent employees, temporary (casual) employees, and owner-drivers. The main predictor of both illness and injury for all drivers was work-life conflict. The results show that contingent work is characteristic of short-haul trucking in Australia, especially among owner-drivers and casual employees. Contingent-work drivers differ from other drivers on a range of organizational characteristics, but not on safety and health outcomes. Contingent employment can take different forms, each of which is associated with a somewhat different set of effects on workers.