Management & Operations

Data shows health risks associated within transportation workforce

Posted on June 11, 2019

A 1943 photo of Washington, D.C.-based Capitol Transit Co. instructor teaching a female student to operate a one-man streetcar.
PublicDomain
A 1943 photo of Washington, D.C.-based Capitol Transit Co. instructor teaching a female student to operate a one-man streetcar.PublicDomain

New research examining demographic and wellness trends within the transportation industry reveals the correlation between certain physical and behavioral elements and the risks to employee health and wellness.

The newly released white paper titled Relationship between Demographics and Wellness in the Transportation Industry details the results of a five-year study of 15,165 drivers and non-drivers (employed in terminals, warehouses, shops, and offices).

Factors measured include: body mass index (BMI), tobacco use, age, and gender and how these factors impact driver and non-driver health. The paper outlines potential risk factors that contribute to health concerns facing drivers.

Findings in the paper include:

  • Increased risk for heart disease, stroke, and diabetes: Of the 15,165 participants who completed biometric screening, 33% had at least 3 out of 5 conditions involved with metabolic syndrome (MetS), which includes hypertension, high blood sugar, excess body fat around the waist, and abnormal cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Individuals who have a combination of 3 or more of these factors have an increased risk for heart disease, stroke, and diabetes.
  • Increased percentage of MetS in younger drivers: Drivers between ages 40 and 59 years shared the same risks as their 60+ year-old counterparts.
  • Tobacco use and drivers: Drivers are 130% more likely to smoke than their non-driver counterparts.
  • The need for targeted training/wellness programs: Addressing BMI as a medical condition, understanding health risks associated with aging, adopting smoking cessation programs, and targeting drivers for training/wellness programs can decrease development of MetS conditions and slow the rate at which MetS risks increase with age.

"Our goal with this paper is to inform health and safety professionals in the transportation industry on how to identify and prioritize higher-risk drivers," says James Landsman, president of Atlas Injury Prevention Solutions, authors of the study.

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