Fatigue Trucking

Screening truck, bus drivers for sleep apnea risk is effective: study

Bloomsburg, PA – Adding an obstructive sleep apnea screening to commercial driver medical examinations is effective at identifying OSA risk among truck and bus drivers, concludes a recent study from Bloomsburg University.

Medical examiners participating in the study screened 86 drivers without known sleep disorders who were visiting an occupational health clinic for a medical fitness determination or redetermination. Adapting previously developed OSA screening recommendations, the examiners checked participants for known risk factors of OSA, such as those relating to body weight and neck circumference, before administering a survey about their sleeping habits.

Thirty-six percent of the drivers were found to be at risk for OSA and would have not been identified as “at-risk” using current medical examination guidelines, which do not specifically screen for OSA.

Truck and bus drivers with OSA, which is characterized by breathing pauses during sleep, may experience daytime sleepiness and other adverse effects. Researchers concluded that occupational health providers should voluntarily begin conducting OSA screenings during medical examinations for truck and bus drivers.

The study was published online Oct. 23 in the journal Workplace Health & Safety.