By James L. Curtis and Craig B. Simonsen

In a just released study published in the American Journal of Industrial Medicine, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) finds that U.S. long-haul truck drivers were twice as likely to be obese compared to the adult working population, as well as more likely to smoke and suffer from other risk factors for chronic disease.

The NIOSH study, “Obesity and Other Risk Factors: The National Survey of U.S. Long-Haul Truck Driver Health and Injury” (Jan. 2014), documents a survey conducted in 2010 of 1,670 long-haul truck drivers at thirty-two truck stops across the forty-eight contiguous United States about their health and work practices. According to the survey, “69% of these drivers were obese and 54% smoked. Additionally, 88% of long-haul truck drivers reported having at least one risk factor (hypertension, smoking, and obesity) for chronic disease, compared to only 54% of the general U.S. adult working population.”

Employers in the long-haul industry should note that the “survey findings suggest a need for targeted interventions and continued surveillance for long-haul truck drivers.” (Emphasis added.) This study puts long-haul employers on notice that their employees may have work related health issues. Don’t be surprised if state and federal regulators begin questioning whether employers are adequately protecting their employees from these hazards.