Forming the backbone of India’s economy, the trucking industry plays an integral role in driving the growth. However, the stressful and demanding nature of the work done by the truckers, who drive this industry, impacts their physical and mental well-being.
A month-long research, covering over 1,000 truckers, was done by Kantar IMRB, a research organisation, in association with Castrol India, to understand health issues faced by truckers that can be directly linked to hazardous nature of the job and working conditions.
Truck drivers have a high rate of occupation-related injury and have among the highest rates of on-job fatality. According to the report, more than 50% of truckers face driving-related health issues, yet for 63% of the truck drivers health does not feature amongst their top three priorities in life.
Unusually long working hours, long periods away from home and family, difficult road and driving conditions, all emerged as issues impacting their health and well-being. In fact, 50% of truck drivers have trips where 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 check-up in the past one year.
The ergonomic risk factors faced by truck drivers 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. This 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 absence from home.
Post this study, Castrol said it has commissioned experts from The Yoga Institute in Mumbai to come up with easy health tips that can be followed by the truckers even while they are on the go. The result is a series of Yoga aasanas especially developed for truckers, interestingly called the truck aasanas. Over the next six months, Castrol said it will work towards sharing these yoga aasanas with truckers across the country, encouraging them to focus on their health and well-being.