Brian Joss – November is Diabetes Month across the world. While this disease can affect anyone, at any time in their lives, research shows truck drivers have a higher risk of contracting type two diabetes.
There are various reasons for this, including their tendency to rely on unhealthy meals on the road and decreased exercise as a result of many hours behind the wheel.
For this reason, companies who have truck drivers exposed to similar unhealthy conditions, should implement regular screening into their policies. The managing director of MasterDrive, Eugene Herbert, explains: “If a driver contracts diabetes and it goes undetected, this not only poses a serious health risk to the driver but to their safety on the road as well
“Your vision can be affected when you have diabetes, particularly if it is uncontrolled. Fatigue is increased and nerve damage can even affect your control of the accelerator and brakes. Regular screening can not only prevent these undesirable, and sometimes even irreversible health problems, but ensure your drivers are not at risk of serious or tragic crashes on the road.”
While you cannot force a driver to disclose personal health information, you can provide access to resources that can help them manage diabetes or other health issues. “Once these resources are available, instil a company policy that encourages drivers to undergo monthly health checks and to make healthy choices when on the road. Once awareness is raised within your organisation and drivers have the resources to look after their health, it is a massive step in the right direction,” says Herbert.
Some tips for ensuring your drivers are at optimal health
1 Alert your drivers to the symptoms of diabetes.
2 Encourage drivers to choose healthy snacks or to prepack healthy meals. This not only reduces risk of contracting diabetes or better manages it, but it also contributes toward better health and energy levels in general.
3 Educate newly diagnosed drivers about what signs to look out for that could indicate they are experiencing low or high sugar levels.
4 If a driver experiences high or low sugar levels, insist that they take a break in a safe area until their levels return to normal.
5 Encourage regular monitoring of sugar levels throughout the journey.
6 Carry snacks in case their sugar levels drop when a convenience store is not nearby.
7 Ensure diabetic drivers have medic alerts so if involved in a crash, paramedics are aware of their health condition.
8 Ensure you check your drivers’ eyesight regularly.
CAPTION: Testing: using a glucose meter. Picture: PhotoMix