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Driver Health: Health and HGV – The Age Old Stereotype

It’s an image we’re all familiar with – the stocky HGV driver, chubby after one too many fried breakfasts. Unfortunately for the past ten years, the health of HGV drivers, in general, hasn’t been anything to write home about.

Unsociable hours, long periods of physical inactivity and too many unhealthy food options at Motorway Services have meant that drivers have historically suffered from more than their fair share of health issues.

However, recent initiatives have seen a change in trend. Drivers are becoming more health conscious, and the health profile of the average driver seems to be shifting. So what’s caused this change, and what does the future hold for health and HGV?

One of the major problems of a life on the road is that you’re totally reliant on what you can grab to eat at motorway service stations. Fortunately for road users, as a result of national health awareness campaigns, food retailers are making a concerted effort to make sure that they’re providing their customer with a healthy option. This initiative has been supported by many of the big Fast Food giants, so if you’re eating at services, you’re now more likely than ever to find something on offer that’s good for you.

Unfortunately for all of us, the mere presence of wholesome food does not guarantee that we’re going to eat it. That’s where you’re lucky if you’re a professional driver, because if your work is behind the wheel, you’re safe in the knowledge that the industry you work within is very concerned about how healthy you are. The introduction of the Driver CPC Legislation means that professional drivers are now required to complete training modules which directly relate to their health. As a result of the Periodic Training Requirement for the Driver CPC, this training is ongoing throughout the driver’s career. Furthermore, all new drivers are trained in managing their health, as health issues are actively covered in the DSA Theory Test for vocational drivers.

Plus, professional drivers are being targeted by other health-related charities and campaigns, too. Interestingly, as a large proportion of drivers are currently male, targeting those employed in driving roles gives these organisations a unique opportunity to get their message out to the men they’re trying to help.

Lucy Dawes from male cancer charity OrchidUK speaks to The LGV Trainer about how they’re working with HGV Training Companies to catch new drivers early, and get them thinking about their health.

Orchid are delighted to be working with The LGV Training Company to support our work and to help secure a healthier future for HGV drivers. We are continuing to work with the companies to help raise additional funds and awareness for Orchid.

Orchid exists to save men’s lives from male cancer through a range of support services, campaigns, pioneering research, education and awareness programmes. We are the only UK charity dedicated to fighting all three male specific cancers – namely prostate, penile and testicular. We are a small charity but we’re having a big impact on the lives of all those we support.

‘37,400 men are diagnosed in the UK with a male cancer every year and sadly these numbers are increasing. Unfortunately,  men often avoid health issues, warning signs and symptoms and fail to carry-out regular self checks. Orchid is working hard to redress this balance and ensure more men become more male cancer aware and take a pro-active approach to their health.

‘There is of course a certain preconception of HGV drivers and their health and we’re hoping by working together with HGV training companies, we can help to change attitudes and ensure a healthier future for the drivers.’

To see how the Orchid Campaign is having an affect ‘on the ground’, The LGV Trainer spoke to local HGV Instructor, Graham, who said; ‘It’s having a really positive effect. Not only are the guys interested in raising money for a good cause, but it’s getting them thinking about their own health. It’s amazing what you hear, really; there’s been a couple of guys already who have been checked out because of something they read in the Orchid leaflet. It makes it less of a taboo subject I think; plus if you get them thinking about it before they pass their tests it’s a good way to get more health conscious Drivers into the industry.’

So it appears that all the right ingredients are present to make HGV Driving a healthier career choice, and now all the industry needs is motivated drivers to BE the change.

For more information about The LGV Training Company’s work with Orchid, follow us on Twitter – @LGVTrainingCo

Make 2012 a year to remember! Orchid runs a range of fundraising events including sporting challenges and we’re challenging prospective HGV Drivers to sign up for one of these exciting events. For more information Orchid’s work and to get involved with fundraising, please visit www.orchid-cancer.org.uk

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