Health for the Long-Haul

Health for the Long-Haul

Being a driver for a company has the potential for many health issues.  The driver is sitting all the time, has little time for rest, little time for exercise, and is always eating on the go. Think about the toll that the moving season takes on employees; they are constantly working, constantly on the road, and constantly performing some sort of strenuous activity.  All of those factors together are a recipe for disaster. The health risks among long-distance drivers are far too common and long-standing.

Drivers are required to have annual health and vision exams and blood pressure no higher than 140/99 mmHG.  Still, though, more than half male truck drivers are obese, whereas only 33 percent of the general male population are obese.

The first ever International Conference on Commercial Driver Health and Wellness was held in 2010.  Dr. Eric Wood of the University of Utah, who studies the causes of injuries and illnesses in truck drivers, stated that the most common health issues among drivers are high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol, and sleep apnea. Furthermore, according to New World Van Lines’ Patrick Nevins, the cause for all of these problems is malnutrition, lack of rest, and lack of recovery time.  Therefore these employees are more likely to be absent, unproductive, and unsafe.

These health issues are not a private matter.  Due to all of these common health problems, the medical insurance deductibles and out-of-pocket costs to truck drivers are 40-70% higher than the national average of employers in all industries, according to the 2011 Cottingham and Butler Trucking Compensation and Benefits Benchmark Survey.  Also, drivers with a Body Mass Index of 25% or higher have double the crash rate per mile than healthy drivers, putting the entire company at risk.  When obese drivers are out of work for workers comp, they are out 13 times longer than healthy employees.  It is a problem affecting the entire company, therefore it is in the company’s best interest to incorporate wellness into their cultures.

Some companies who have incorporated a wellness component into their companies have seen great results.  The possibilities for a wellness part of the company are endless. Some typical components, though, are traditional physicians’ services, nutritional counseling, telephone consultations with nurses, and discounted gym memberships. If the company provides the means for health, then the employees are bound to be healthy!

It is important to consider the wellbeing of employees in order to maintain the wellbeing of the company as a whole.