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What Are the Health Hazards Associated with Truck Driving?
Truck drivers have one of the most demanding and dangerous jobs that exist, and it is important to understand the problems they are faced with and how to keep the preventable ones from happening or at least minimize the damage of some of the inevitable.
Did you know that workers in the trucking industry experience the most fatalities of all occupations in America, which amounts to about 12 percent of all worker deaths? Approximately 66 percent of truckers who were fatally injured were involved in highway crashes.
Truck drivers also experience more nonfatal injuries than any other occupation. About 50 percent of the nonfatal injuries were serious sprains and strains, many resulting from truck drivers having to unload the goods they transport. Bruises, fractures, cuts and lacerations, and soreness and pain are some of the other most common nonfatal trucker injuries experienced.
The health hazards that exist in an occupation such as truck driving is astounding. For one, it is a very sedentary occupation with extremely long hours (more hours spent sitting with little energy burned and blood flow to muscles), truckers experience quite a bit of stress from constantly having to keep an eye out for dangerous travel conditions and reckless drivers (elevated cortisol levels), they deal with constant exposure to whole body vibrations (contributes to the trucker’s fatigue), and so much more.
If you want to learn more about all of the hazards related to truck driving, check out this in-depth article: https://www.safeopedia.com/the-major-safety-hazards-for-truckers-and-how-to-prevent-them/2/4884
A recent study by NIOSH found that U.S. long-haul truck drivers are more than twice as likely to be obese as other working adults and more likely to suffer from risk factors that lead to diabetes, coronary artery disease, strokes, and heart attacks. These risk factors include high blood pressure, high cholesterol, tobacco use, and getting less than 6 hours of sleep in a 24-hour period.
While the U.S. Department of Transportation requires drivers to get a medical evaluation, a certificate can last for 2 years, and of course, health and weight can fluctuate and change tremendously in 2 years time!
Trucker Fitness Tips
While there are many hazardous situations that cannot be avoided and are an inherent part of the trucking industry, there are some things that truckers can do to help prevent many injuries and other long-term health issues.
Below are some tips for keeping truck drivers safe along with some portable tools, accessories, and truck driver exercise equipment suggestions that may help make these tips easier to follow.
Stretch and lengthen your muscles before, during, and after drives to improve circulation throughout your body and ease the tension in your joints and muscles. This also helps prevent soreness and manage pain.
Doing yoga and/or foam rolling after work or before bedtime is a great way to unwind so that you get a good night’s rest and wake up feeling refreshed.
BalanceFrom Yoga Mat
This 1/4″ high density anti-tear exercise yoga mat can be conveniently rolled up and features a carrying strap.
TriggerPoint GRID Foam Roller
Includes access to free online instructional video library on foam rolling best practices from the experts at TriggerPoint.
2. Strength Train
Build up your strength to help prevent any injuries related to loading/unloading goods.
Soges Adjustable Dumbbells
Features octagonal design to prevent rolling, and it goes up to 66 lbs for two dumbbells (33 lbs each).
Tribe Resistance Bands Set
This 12 piece set includes 5 color-coded strength tension bands (5-35 lbs), 2 cushioned handles, 1 door anchor, 2 ankle straps, 1 waterproof carry bag, and an advanced exercise eBook.
3. Take Breaks
Be mindful of working for extended periods of time without any breaks (especially bathroom breaks) and be sure to stretch whenever you do take breaks to help deliver much needed oxygen to your muscles and minimize any signs of fatigue.
Listening to music or talking to a friend or family member can also help energize you for another long stretch on the road.
AWOKEN Unisex Urinal
Leakproof, holds 34 ounces, and includes a unisex funnel so that women can also use it.
Mpow Bluetooth Headset
Equipped with CVC 6.0 noise-cancelling microphone which makes voices sound clearer, 10m / 33ft roaming range, and up to 13 hours of battery life.
4. Stay Hydrated and Eat Well
Stay hydrated and maintain healthy eating habits. Eating better quality foods will have a tremendous positive impact on your productivity, energy level, attitude, muscle recovery, quality of sleep, and even improve your immune system.
Arctic Zone Titan Deep Freeze Cooler
Features high performance insulation with radiant heat barrier that keeps ice up to 3 days and a SmartShelf to keep hard items like drinks separate from soft items such as sandwiches.
Hot Logic 12V Mini Food Warming Tote
Evenly cooks or reheats fresh or frozen meats and vegetables without burning or drying your food. Also holds temperatures for 12 hours.
5. Get Enough Sleep
Do your best to sleep for at least 7 hours a night. This will give your body enough time to fully recover from your day and keep your immune system healthy and strong.
My Pillow Firm Fill
Made with patented interlocking fill and supports a refreshing night’s sleep by adjusting to fit the contours of your head.
trtl Neck Support Travel Pillow
If you ever have to take a quick nap while sitting up, this travel pillow is perfect for supporting your head and neck while keeping your head from dropping forward.