When you think of the health risks of being a long-haul truck driver, you’ll probably put vehicle accidents at the top of the list, and you wouldn’t be wrong. According to the most recent data available from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 503 truck drivers lost their lives in 2014. The survey adds that truck drivers, along with drivers/sales workers, accounted for nearly 2 out of every 3 fatal injuries in the transportation and material moving occupation.
What might not be that apparent, however, are the health risks inherent in a truck driver’s lifestyle. These professionals tend to be sedentary for long hours, with limited sleeping hours and even more limited access to healthy foods. Couple that with the daily stresses of being on the road, and you have the perfect recipe for potentially debilitating health conditions such as hypertension, obesity, diabetes and heart disease.
Truck driver’s health affects their performance on the road
As if the dangers of these conditions on their own are not enough, a new study published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine reveals that having these conditions increase a trucker’s risk of crashing. According to the study, truck drivers with a high risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) have a comparatively higher likelihood of a crash than those with low CVD risk.
The importance of an ongoing and pre-employment physical exam for truck drivers
CVD risk grows with factors such as advancing age, lack of sleep, alcohol use, tobacco use, and even drug use—all of which are common in the trucker lifestyle, and coincidentally, all of which also contribute to a higher risk of crashes or accidents. For employers, this can mean increased healthcare spending, work days lost due to illness or injuries, and a less profitable bottom line. This is where the importance of a having an ongoing and pre-employment physical program comes in.
Professional truck drivers are required by the government to undergo a medical evaluation every two years, but health conditions can change far quicker than that. If you want to establish a more frequent and/or more rigid medical evaluation program for your drivers, an ongoing and pre-employment physical exam provider such as U.S. HealthWorks can help.
Hiring healthy truck drivers helps keep your business on the road, ErgoScience.com
NATIONAL CENSUS OF FATAL OCCUPATIONAL INJURIES IN 2014, BLS.com