Truck drivers' health is focus of ergonomic, anti-flu efforts

Companies taking health care to drivers

The physical toll taken by professional truck drivers can produce long-term health problems, so one trucking company is working with an ergonomics practice to take better health to drivers on the road by providing a range of health services at truck stops across the country.

"Our success depends on our drivers," says Wendy Sullivan, RN, occupational health manager for trucking company Schneider National. "These hardworking people struggle with the same health issues as you and me, but their situations are often made worse because they're away from home for extended periods without easy access to health services."

Schneider has signed a multi-year agreement with Atlas Ergonomics to provide drivers health services at company-owned truck stops at no cost to the drivers. Services include physical therapy, blood pressure monitoring, diet and nutrition counseling, and exercise education, and referrals for other issues, such as sleep disorders, smoking, and family or personal crises.

The 12 truck stops, or operations centers, are staffed by full-time, certified physical and occupational therapists who work one-to-one with drivers. The in-house clinics are linked via an electronic medical records system, so a driver who is first seen for back pain in Fontana, CA, can continue therapy seamlessly in Charlotte, NC.

Sullivan says the plan will make it easier for drivers to seek and obtain preventive care, or to have problems checked early on, minimizing down time and cost.

A flu shot for the road

A Knoxville, TN, practice that aims to help curb the number of flu cases traveling coast to coast via 18-wheeler opened in November, offering free flu shots to as many as 6,000 truck drivers.

Professional Drivers Medical Depots (PDMD) announced its efforts could help prevent as many as 30,000 cases of flu spread by unvaccinated drivers who stop as often as six times each day, often at crowded truck stops.

PDMD was created to address medical problems faced by an aging population of long-haul drivers faced with the practical problem of how to conveniently obtain medical care while they are working.

PDMD plans to open 60 to 80 clinics in the next five years, the company announced, and is designing a survey to assess the habits and health conditions of long-haul drivers.

For more information about Schneider National visit www.schneider.com or call (800) 558-6767.

To learn more about Professional Drivers Medical Depot, contact the company via mail at 9133 Middlebrook Pike, Knoxville, TN 37923, or by phone at (865) 558-3038.