Studying up on truck drivers’ health and wellness

What are B.C. truck drivers doing to stay healthy? How are employers supporting their wellness? SafetyDriven is teaming up with researchers to seek answers. 

Photo of smiling truck driver in cab of semi truck

Photo credit: iStock.com/IPGGutenbergUKLtd

SafetyDriven, the health and safety association for B.C.’s trucking industry, is working with a group of Canadian researchers to explore what B.C. truck drivers are doing to stay healthy. They’re also looking at what kinds of health, safety, and wellness programs and resources employers are providing for their drivers.

“We want to know what behaviours drivers are undertaking to keep themselves healthy, what habits they have, and what companies are doing to support and encourage them to a healthier lifestyle,” says Earl Galavan, SafetyDriven COR manager.

That’s why SafetyDriven is asking B.C. truck drivers and their employers to share their ideas, via a confidential survey that can be accessed on safetydriven.ca.

SafetyDriven will use the data to identify best practices and produce new programs and resources for industry. Earl said researchers would like to expand the inquiry to include the rest of Canada. As it is now, there’s a good bit of information about drivers’ health in the United States, but not as much in Canada.

Trucking industry has unique challenges

This study is funded by an Innovation at Work grant from WorkSafeBC. Grants in this program support research leading to practical solutions for specific challenges in the workplace.

Certainly, the trucking industry has its challenges, such as an aging workforce. I asked the lead researcher, Dr. Mamdouh Shubair, at the University of Northern B.C., to tell me more about the challenges and what inspired him to do the study.

“A truck driver’s job involves irregular, long hours, exposure to prolonged seated vibration, unhealthy dietary patterns, and physical inactivity,” he said. He chose this topic because long-haul truck drivers in B.C. and Canada have a high risk of crash-related death, diabetes, and heart disease.

For more information, see this description of the study on worksafebc.com. For other thoughts on this topic, see my posts Why should truck drivers exercise more and eat better? and Logging drivers watch their steps. In the second post, I wrote about a healthy living challenge posed by the BC Forest Safety Council in 2013, in which truckers used pedometers to track the number of steps they took each day. They logged their daily steps for a month, competed for prizes, and set their own goals.

Are you a driver   or do you know one   with some good suggestions on how to stay healthy and well while on the job? Do let me know, in the comments below.

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