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Study highlights the health hazards facing long-haul truckers

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, the federal agency "that conducts research and makes recommendations to prevent worker injury and illness," recently released the results of a rather eye-opening study concerning the health of long-haul truck drivers here in the U.S.

Published in the latest issue of the American Journal of Industrial Medicine, the study consists primarily of a series of survey questions posed to 1,670 long-haul truck drivers at truck stops across the nation back in 2010. Here, the study participants were asked a series of questions about both their health and work practices.

While the results of the survey should prove to be surprising to the public, they should also prove to be something of a wakeup call to the trucking industry.

The study made the following findings concerning the health of long-haul truck drivers:

  • 69 percent of the survey participants reported being obese.
  • 88 percent of the survey participants reported suffering from at least one risk factor for chronic disease.
  • 54 percent of the survey participants reported smoking.

According to NIOSH, their work has provided much-needed insight into a previously unexamined area that will ultimately help make our nation's roads and highways safer.

"The data collected from the survey will help to establish a picture of the health conditions, risk factors and work practices for U.S. long-haul truck drivers, giving the trucking industry and researchers valuable information to guide health and safety efforts," read a released statement from the agency.

Here's hoping that the trucking industry does take notice of the study and work to improve the health of its employees.

The simple truth is that obesity coupled with smoking and preexisting health conditions means many long-haul truck drivers are at an increased risk of suffering a heart attack or stroke. Furthermore, it may also mean that many are at risk of developing sleep apnea, a sleep disorder that can cause severe fatigue. One can only imagine the devastation wrought by a trucker who has a medical episode or falls asleep behind the wheel.

If you have been seriously injured or lost a loved one in a truck accident here in Florida, consider speaking with an experienced attorney to learn more about your options.

Source: EHS Today, "NIOSH Study: Long-haul truck drivers twice as likely to be obese," Josh Cable, Dec. 27, 2013

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