Professional drivers already have one of the most hazardous jobs in the U.S., but health-related obstacles make the profession even more dangerous to the men and women who drive our nation’s trucks. According to the FMCSA, the life expectancy for drivers is a whopping 16 years shorter than the national average.
16 years is a staggering figure. That is a lot of life that is being subtracted from the people that get up every day to do one of the toughest and most important jobs out there.
It’s time trucking companies stepped up to face this challenge. Companies need to implement aggressive corporate wellness programs to help turn this problem around. This isn’t an easy task, we know – but it is a battle worth fighting both for the good of the drivers and for the good of the company.
Why Driver Wellness Programs are Essential
Professional drivers face unique health challenges that pose obstacles to traditional wellness efforts. The health of drivers is put into jeopardy by daily risks like:
- Lack of healthy food options on the road and reduced chance for exercise, leading to a higher rate of obesity. 55% of drivers are obese (compared to 33% of U.S. men).
- Poorly designed work spaces (truck cabs) which can cause ergonomic injuries
- Exposure to hazardous chemicals
- One of the highest rates of musculoskeletal injuries (from loading and unloading)
- Extreme fatigue
- Sleep apnea
- Depression, loneliness or anxiety stemming from isolation while on the job
Designing A Driver Wellness Program that Works
While it’s clear there is a need for increased wellness among drivers, the million dollar question is how to design a program that will stick. The biggest barrier to putting a wellness initiative in place is that many drivers don’t think it’s possible to change their lifestyle. Most companies shy away from implementing a program for fear that there will be little buy-in.
This was the topic of our February 13th HNI U webinar entitled “Wellness Strategies for Truckers.” Although the event has passed, you can continue the conversation about driver wellness by clicking the button below to watch the recorded webinar. Watch it to learn how to move forward with a program to lead drivers to take ownership of their health!