It’s no secret that driver health is a huge issue in the industry. Not only is there concern for the lives of these employees, but also an unhealthy workforce contributes to more crashes, more time off during worker’s comp, higher employee turnover, and higher insurance costs. For the sake of your drivers, and for the sake of your business, it is essential to encourage driver health however possible.
The main areas of driver health include eating right and staying hydrated, physical exercise, proper posture while driving, mental health, sun protection, a clean work environment, and sufficient sleep. How can fleet managers enhance each of these factors for their employees? Here are Commercial Truck Trader’s 7 tips for helping your drivers stay healthy:
1. Introduce a Wellness Program
First things first, you need to develop or sign your company up for an employee wellness program. This program should help drivers set attainable goals and provide them with actionable strategies and helpful resources, including things like health coaching, nutrition plans, and tobacco cessation counseling. You may choose to launch a holistic program all at once, or add elements as you go.
2. Explain & Advertise Wellness
Some drivers may need to be convinced to make lifestyle changes, so it will be imperative to educate your employees about the importance of health and the benefits of making positive changes. Advertise the program consistently, via multiple media channels, from handouts and posters to emails and texts. Another useful strategy is to get trusted, experienced drivers to endorse the program and encourage their peers to join them.
3. Provide Tools & Testing
Just like drivers need the right truck or van to get the job done, they need the right wellness tools to stay healthy. In addition to distributing the wellness program’s educational resources, do what you can to purchase or reimburse drivers for things like coolers for storing healthy meals and snacks, workout equipment like resistance bands or folding bikes, ergonomic seats, and even sunscreen. You can also provide drivers with health screenings, including medical exams and sleep apnea tests.
4. Offer Incentives
There are several ways you can incentivize wellness among your drivers. Bonuses could be offered for meeting major health milestones. Monthly competitions for things like daily steps can award winners with gift cards. Employees who consistently track certain metrics, or submit photos of healthy meals, could be entered into prize raffles. Try out various incentives and see what works for your team.
5. Maintain Vehicles
A sanitary working environment is key to good health. While drivers are responsible for keeping the cab clean, fleet managers have responsibilities too. By routinely maintaining your trucks or vans, you ensure that vehicles have fresh cabin filters and cleared exhaust systems to help keep drivers’ air clear and healthy. Maintenance also provides functioning heating and cooling to keep drivers from overheating or freezing during extreme weather.
6. Optimize Routes
A big obstacle for drivers in pursuit of better health is simply finding the time to prepare meals, work out, and get enough hours of sleep. One way fleet managers can help is by optimizing drivers’ shifts and routes to be fair and consistent. By helping them maximize their time, drivers will be better able to prioritize their health by being able to meal prep, exercise, and get a good night’s rest every day.
7. Remember Mental Health
Mental health is too-often stigmatized, which can cause people to ignore or forget about it, but it can actually be a big concern for drivers. Make sure that the employer-provided insurance offered to your drivers covers treatment for mental health, including remote therapy that drivers can access on the road. In addition to the hardships of the job, financial problems are a major cause of anxiety, so do everything you can to provide competitive pay and allow employees to pay into retirement plans.
Conclusion: Improving driver health protects the lives of your employees, and benefits your business as well. You can use the above tips to launch and/or enhance your driver wellness program. And if you’re looking to enhance your fleet with another truck or van, check out all the vehicles for-sale nationwide on CommercialTruckTrader.com and our sister site NextTruckOnline.com.