When much of your job is navigating the nation's highways from a big rig, maintaining health on the road can be a real challenge. The nearly 3.5 million drivers on the road are critical to keeping our economy running smoothly and efficiently. Many face unique challenges related to truck drivers' health, leaving them feeling like they are running on empty.
According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), U.S. long-haul truck drivers are twice as likely to be obese compared to the rest of the adult working population, as well as more likely to smoke and suffer from other risk factors for chronic disease.
In order to keep America running, we need to keep our drivers healthy and alert, and focused on their health and wellness. Here are ten easy ways employers can help keep their drivers safe, healthy, and on the road.
It is easy to be on the road and forget one of the basic components of health- drinking plenty of water. By staying hydrated, drivers stay more alert and reduce their risks for high blood pressure and high cholesterol. Supplying bottled water for drivers is an easy way to encourage hydration.
2. Promote healthy eating habits
People are growing more concerned about eating well. Because of this, healthier food options are more readily available than ever before. Fast food restaurants are increasing the number of healthier options, and there is more fresh food available at convenience stores. Keeping nuts, fruits, vegetables, and healthy protein sources on hand helps to stave off emergency fried food pit stops. Making sure drivers are aware of, and are practicing healthy eating habits while out on the road can help prevent a number of health issues later on.
3. Smoking cessation programs
Attempting to quit smoking is one of the hardest things many people will do in their lifetime. By providing programs to help drivers kick the habit, they can reap the long-term benefits of a smoke-free lifestyle.
4. Mental alertness
There are many ways to help promote mental alertness among drivers, as alterness is paramount to their safety, as well as everyone on the road with them. Audiobooks and podcasts are examples of easy ways for drivers to stay mentally focused while driving.
5. Employee wellness programs
Wellness programs have proven to be very effective in helping employees maintain their health. From telemedicine options to weight loss programs, to providing wearable fitness devices, and mental health programs, an effective wellness program can be just the thing to show the company is committed to the health and wellness of their employees. For example, Keller Logistics' Wellness Program is designed to support the main facets of wellness: Prevention, Opportunity, Workout, Epic Eats, and Relaxation. The purpose of the P.O.W.E.R. program is to provide education, motivation, and resources to all Keller employees.
6. Flu shots and other preventatives
"An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure," or so the saying goes. Offering free or low-cost flu shots and other preventative health options can keep drivers from having to take time off to get well, or even worse, trying to keep driving while seriously ill.
7. Fixing ergonomic problems
Spending that much time in the driver's seat can wreak havoc on drivers' bodies. Chronic back problems and other aches and pains can become a daily issue. Simply offering fixes for ergonomic issues with products like steering wheel covers or lumbar support devices can save drivers a myriad of issues.
8. Fitness education
Many drivers don't realize how beneficial even a small bit of exercise can be for them. Encourage drivers to do 20-30 minutes of walking, running, or a quick ride on a stationary bike daily. Encourage them to stop off at a gym when possible, or to take advantage of a "ride and roll" location where they can safely park their rig and take a bike ride. Provide them with our 30 minute full body driver workout and 30 minute cardio workout for drivers designed to help maintain their health on the road. Also, providing fitness ideas for use when at home can help guide drivers into a health-conscious routine.
Sleep is critical to overall health and safety on the road. Make sure drivers do whatever is necessary to get the adequate sleep they need to remain alert naturally.
10. Stress relief
Stress is a normal part of life, but too much stress can have major negative impact on health. Drivers face unique challenges that can compound that stress, such as rough schedules and being away from family. However, by providing methods for stress relief, from breathing exercises to even quick mental breaks or meditation when not driving can help keep stress at bay.
At Keller, we believe the health and well-being of our employees is of utmost importance. From physical to emotional wellness, we work to ensure our employees are the best possible version of themselves.