Working For Long Haul Trucking Companies: Health Risks

Long haul trucking companies send their drivers on trips that are hundreds of miles. They can last several days or even weeks. Many truckers drive a sleeper unit, bunking down at night or day. These days away from home are all part of a lifestyle that puts drivers at high risk. While the chances of accidents may spring to the fore when you consider truck driving, drivers face even greater problems. They are at high risk of various health problems because of their life on the road.

Life on the Road

Long haul or OTR drivers lead almost a nomadic lifestyle. They shower, change and eat at various designated stops, including truck stops. They may have their own microwave, portable BBQ and small refrigerator unit in their truck. Using these appliances, they can reheat or prepare simple meals. They have little opportunities to exercise and burn off the calories. The greater percentage of their day (or night) is spent in the cab of their vehicle.

Truckers at Risk

This type of life has placed OTR truckers high in the rankings of people at risk from some very serious health issues. Surveys in studies from 2008 and 2014, indicate the potential for this group of people to suffer from a variety of health problems. Among the most common are:

 * Obesity – A serious problem that can result in the onset of Type 2 Diabetes is twice as common among truckers who work for long distance trucking companies than in the general American population

 * High blood pressure
 * High cholesterol levels
 * Sleep issues – including sleep apnea
 * Exhaustion
 * Back pain
 * Sinus problems
 * Headaches
 * Arthritis
 * Depression

These problems can affect both male and female drivers. The tendency for many to smoke, the lack of physical activity and unhealthy food choices are partially responsible and compound the situation. Indeed, life in the OTR trucking business can actually decrease life expectancy, according to some studies. The actual life span of an OTR truck driver may decrease by anywhere between 5 and 10 years.

Long Haul Trucking Companies and Their Drivers

OTR trucking is conducive to providing an environment that increases the health risks of those who drive. The life style of a trucker increases their chances of obesity, Type 2 Diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure and depression. Long haul trucking companies can help alleviate the situation by making sure their drivers understand the potential, including fitness memberships, providing nutritional counselling and even allowing truckers to bring along their exercise-demanding pets.

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