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Overcoming the Truck Driver Health Crisis.

Overcoming the Truck Driver Health Crisis

Truck drivers are exposed to a wide range of health hazards while on the job. An unbalanced lifestyle with long hours on the road can contribute to issues like obesity, fatigue, and mental strains.

The freight and shipping industry relies on trucking services to move most goods across the country. Any disruption stemming from poor health can lead to loss of productivity and accidents, disrupting the supply train and causing a ripple effect on the economy.

From making frequent truck body repairs to implementing awareness programmes and support systems, we cover how employers can do their part in overcoming the truck driver health crisis.

Factors Contributing to the Crisis

Lifestyle factors and job-related stressors greatly contribute to a truck driver’s health. Long hours on the road can be sedentary yet physically demanding and mentally taxing due to extended periods of alone time—an indefinite schedule results in an improper sleep routine and accumulated fatigue.

In addition, most truck drivers tend to find the most convenient thing to eat while on the road, which is most often fast food. This diet can cause the body to gain weight due to reduced physical activity, resulting in increased risks of obesity and high blood pressure.

The average age of truck drivers in New Zealand is around 50, with a significant demographic of 60 to over 70-year-olds. The harsh demands of a trucking lifestyle on an ageing workforce can be highly concerning. For the highest chance of success, overcoming the truck driver health crisis must be a multi-pronged approach. 

Changes in Regulations and Policies

Changes need to be made within the industry to promote healthier working conditions. Employers must restructure work schedules to limit the number of consecutive hours spent behind the wheel, with adequate rest periods between shifts to reduce the risk of burnout. Investing in a reputable 24-hour breakdown servicer, comfortable seating, and good ventilation in all trucks will improve truck drivers’ overall working conditions.  

Education and Awareness Programmes

Implementing compulsory educational workplace programmes will help drivers identify habits that negatively affect their health and take a personal interest towards improving them. Applying threats about the loss of benefits or a job for unhealthy drivers may work in the short term but will decrease overall workplace morale. Fostering awareness and promoting healthy lifestyle tips will improve productivity, boost truck driver health, and make your business more profitable in the long run.

Support Systems and Resources

To encourage a culture of wellness, employers must provide readily available and accessible resources to truck drivers. Additional medical insurance or benefits like regular health check-ups and counselling are perfect for assisting in stress management and overall wellbeing. Exercise and nutrition classes, smoking cessation workshops, and mental health advice courses provide drivers with the necessary information to improve their lifestyles.

Help Your Drivers and Trucks Stay Healthy

A healthy body breeds a healthy mind, and vice versa. Just as truck drivers need to take care of their health, they must ensure the smooth functioning of their trucks. With over 70 years of experience in New Zealand’s transport industry, William Gill & Sons provide everything you need regarding truck sales and servicing. Contact us today to find out why our reputation in this industry is unparalleled.