Tips for Getting—and Keeping—Your Truck Drivers Healthy On the Road

Posted by Skye Robinson | September 20, 2016 | blog, Newsletter

How healthy are your truck drivers? In an industry in which so many smoke (67%), obesity is an issue (73% of truck drivers are overweight and 50% are obese), and sleep deprivation is common, health issues are likely a problem for at least some of your truck drivers.

We talk a lot in this newsletter about how to find and keep truck drivers in order to combat the shortage. We’ve offered tips for keeping the drivers you do have, ways to use online marketing to recruit new drivers, information on how keeping truck cabs clean keeps drivers happy, and ways to improve your communication skills as a fleet manager.

Now let’s talk about the health of your drivers, because keeping them healthy is another way to keep them on the road and on your team.

Obviously you’re not going to be able to impose rules about exercising for 30 minutes per day or avoiding red meat. Your drivers are on the road and on their own. You can, however, raise awareness and start to encourage healthier habits simply by making health a topic of conversation. Four of the biggest health issues faced by drivers are sleep, diet, exercise and smoking. Here are some ideas to improve all of these areas of your drivers’ lives…

Sleep: Oh, boy, how do we even tackle this issue? Drivers push themselves past the point of exhaustion, or they have trouble sleeping because they’re on the road, or their sleep is messed up by irregular schedules. For any number of reasons, your truck drivers probably have sleep issues. Talk about it, and the negative effects of lack of sleep. Brainstorm some ideas with them, and maybe suggest they keep a sleep journal to record when they do sleep. Raise your awareness and theirs, and see if sleep habits get better.

Diet: Any of us would gain weight and be unhealthy if we had to eat restaurant or processed food for every meal! Get your truck drivers a cooler to keep in the truck cab and keep healthy snacks on hand for them to take with, like granola bars, fresh fruit, nuts, string cheese, and whole grain crackers. (See plenty of healthy portable snack ideas here.) Educate yourself on choosing healthy options when eating out and share that information with your drivers. Encourage them to keep a food journal to help them pay more attention to what they’re eating.

Exercise: Your truck drivers would benefit from a portable gym or running track, but that’s not likely to happen. So what can you do to get them to exercise? Come up with little things, like walking 20 times around the truck when they stop to use the bathroom, and doing 5 minutes of stretches before they get back in. Seek out those truck stops that do offer gyms and make sure your drivers are aware of them, and offer incentives to those drivers who do exercise. Maybe have them use their cell phones to take a picture of the miles walked on a treadmill and post the pictures on a bulletin board that everyone can see. Get them thinking!

Smoking: Most people who smoke know they shouldn’t but struggle to quit. This is something you can’t control, but you can encourage, you can motivate, and you could even offer incentives for those who do quit. What if you ran a contest among the drivers to see who can quit? Get creative and get proactive.

We can’t tell you one way to make all your drivers healthy, and everyone is different as is every situation. So with this information, our goal is to raise your awareness so you can help to raise theirs. For more detailed useful and practical ideas for improving truck driver health, see articles available at TheHealthyTrucker.net. And if you have ideas you’ve implemented as the fleet manager at your business to help improve the health of your truck drivers, share them with us at info(at)fleetcleanusa(dot)com. If we get enough ideas, we’ll do a newsletter article with them so we can spread the word about what did or didn’t work. Because we all have the same goal: healthier and happier drivers!

 

Why Clean Cabs Are Good Fleet Management
Keeping truck cabs clean can go a long ways toward keeping your truck drivers happy and also healthy. Read more…

12 Tips for Improving Your Fleet Manager Communication Skills
Communication is hard enough. Communicating with on-the-road employees like truck drivers is even harder. Try a few of these 12 tips to improve your communication skills and make everyone’s job easier. Read more…

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