According to a month-long research study carried out by Kantar IMRB, in association with Castrol India, truck drivers have a high rate of occupation-related injury and have among the highest rates of on-job fatality. The report delves into the lifestyle of truck drivers to understand driver well-being and personal attitudes towards health. According to the report, – more than 50 percent of truckers face driving related health issues, yet, for 63 percent of the truck drivers, health does not feature amongst their top three priorities in life.
The study was conducted on over 1000 truckers to understand the health issues faced by truckers that can be directly related to the hazardous nature of the job and working conditions. As per the report, unusually long working hours, long periods away from home and family, difficult road and driving conditions, have all emerged as issues impacting their health and well-being. 50% of truck drivers have trips where the duration is over 12 hours and 46% drive continuously for over six hours with no break. This brings to light the stressful lifestyle of long-distance commercial drivers. Maintaining mental and physical fitness is of utmost importance in the trucking industry. And yet 62% drivers have not undergone a medical checkup in the past one year. The health issues that truck drivers face include physical stress, lack of sleep, obesity, back pain, joint pain, neck pain, eyesight issues, loneliness, breathlessness/breathing problems and mental stress.
The truck drivers also face ergonomic risk factors as a result of awkward and fixed postures, repetitive twisting of back and neck and working and sleeping in tight spaces result in chronic back, neck and joint pain.
The study further reports that negligence of health amongst truck drivers is exacerbated by unfavourable environment and cultural factors in the road transport industry like poor driving infrastructure, badly maintained vehicles, lack of hygienic food and places to take rest, low wages, unplanned driving schedules and long absences from home. Consequentially, most truck drivers end up neglecting their own health while struggling to make a decent living.
Omer Dormen, managing director, Castrol India said, “The trucking industry is a significant contributor to our nation's economic growth and prosperity and truck drivers are the vital force in moving the nation forward. Castrol has a long and close relationship with truckers in India for over a century. We have several programmes in place to improve their safety and well-being. Taking cognizance of the results that have come out from the recent survey, we are putting in further effort into finding solutions which could mitigate some of the challenges being faced by this section of society.”
Castrol also commissioned experts from ‘The Yoga Institute’ in Mumbai to further investigate the issues and come up with some easy health tips which can be followed by the truckers even whilst they are on the go. The result is a series of Yoga aasanas especially developed for truckers by the experts at The Yoga Institute – the Truck Aasanas. Over the next six months, Castrol will work towards sharing these yoga aasanas with truckers across the country, encouraging them to focus on their health and well-being.
Talking about the Yoga Aasanas incorporated, Dr Hansaji Yogendra, director of The Yoga Institute, Mumbai, said, " We have designed special truck aasanas in consultation with truck drivers while keeping their health and wellness in mind. It is essential for a truck driver to be physically fit to perform his duties efficiently and we believe the aasanas designed will significantly improve the overall lifestyle and performance of truck drivers.”