How involved should carriers be when it comes to the health and fitness of drivers?
June 1, 2007
BOWMANVILLE, Ont. - Pardon my editorializing, but from my experience, truckers aren't exactly known for their graceful, athletic figures. Sure, some drivers have found a way to keep trim on the road, ...
BOWMANVILLE, Ont. – Pardon my editorializing, but from my experience, truckers aren’t exactly known for their graceful, athletic figures. Sure, some drivers have found a way to keep trim on the road, but most seem to succumb to the long hours of inactivity and the high-fat, high-calorie meals found at most truck stops.
So what’s a trucker to do? Are they doomed to a life of love handles? In an attempt to lower health care costs and also improve overall driver health, Celadon has introduced the Highway 2 Health program, including a 12-week on-site Weight Watchers course. A growing number of other carriers have also steered their drivers back on the path to good health by installing gyms at their terminals. But is it really the company’s responsibility to ensure their drivers are eating right and getting proper exercise? Truck News stopped by the Fifth Wheel Truck Stop in Bowmanville, Ont. to see how involved drivers think their employers should be when it comes to personal health and fitness.
Brad Brough, a driver with Schneider’s Trucking in Regina, Sask., says that while a gym at the terminal is probably unnecessary, carriers should at least have adequate lounges where drivers can rest and eat.
“I’ve never for years bothered with the gym. I’m out of shape now but I haven’t always been, so it’s a personal thing I think,” he says.
Brough does get some exercise flatdecking and he and his wife do their best to eat well on the road as well. “We actually don’t eat all that often at the truck stops, especially in the summer (when) we do picnicking,” he says.
Darren Scott, a driver with Highland Transport in Montreal, Que., says that gym facilities would be useless for those drivers that don’t get back to the terminal very often. However, Scott does admit that carriers should be doing their part to push drivers to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
“During training, they told us to try and find an hour in our day’s schedule to go for a walk after we get up,” he says. “That’s a personal thing again, somebody can preach all they want but if you’re not motivated to do it you’re not going to do it.”
Maurice St. Amour, a driver with ironically-named Active Transport in Milton, Ont., says carriers should have quite a bit more involvement when it comes to driver health.
“We don’t eat healthy. We’re never regular for meals or nothing and it shows,” St. Amour said. He noted that if Active had such a program, that he would more than likely get involved, but unfortunately most carriers aren’t large enough to support it.
Jean Paul Couturier, a driver from Quebec City, Que., says though his company doesn’t offer a health program, he would certainly take part. Couturier says that carriers would be wise to integrate such a program, “If they want us to do a good job and feel better. Like me, I don’t feel good because I’m too big,” he admitted.
Laverne Martin, a driver with Home Hardware in St. Jacobs, Ont., says that though a health program or a gym would be helpful, ultimately the responsibility falls on the individual.
“We unload our own trucks so we get lots of exercise that way, but not everybody does,” he said. “I think everybody should be responsible for themselves, but obviously if the carriers make it easier and more accessible (it would be helpful).”