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More HGV Operators Suffering From Sleep Disorder Problems
Published: 21/03/10

Sleep is an important part of life. From animals to humans, sleep is essential for daily functioning. Sleep helps the body recuperate for the following day and the trials and triumphs it will bring, as well as helping us sort out our thoughts through our dreams. Unfortunately some people who work long hours or whose jobs require them to work through the night do not have the luxury to benefit from the advantages of night time sleep. So the question arises: what happens to people who work such jobs?

One in six heavy good vehicle operators in the United Kingdom are reported to suffer from a sleep disorder known as sleep apnoea. One form of sleep apnoea, known as obstructive sleep apnoea, occurs while the person is asleep. It causes problems in breathing during sleep when the muscles in the throat relax too much. These interruptions in breathing can last anywhere from around ten seconds or more. In some cases breathing may stop all together till the brain signals the sleeper to wake up and continue normal breathing.

Due to this constant disturbance of sleep through the night, the individual can suffer from sleepiness and fatigue during the day. According to one study it was found that the lifestyle of heavy good vehicle operators puts them at a higher risk of suffering from obstructive sleep apnoea. If untreated, this condition has been proven to be very dangerous as it can increase the number of accidents that occur on the road. This means that a HGV operator could risk injuring or even killing himself and being charged for manslaughter should he kill someone else in an accident. This is a serious matter and should be taken into great consideration.

However, no one can know if a person is suffering from sleep apnoea if they do not come forward with the problem. In the case of HGV drivers, most of them would be too scared to report incidents of sleep apnoea. Doing so would cause their license to be revoked and the possibility of losing their jobs would be high. HGV drivers could be prevented from operating till they are fully treated and recovered. Therefore, it would be best if proper options are provided to HGV drivers so they feel free to be treated without worrying about the added risk of losing their jobs.

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