How can truck drivers’ work environment be easily improved?

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Year after year, reports emerge that truck drivers top statistics for reported workplace accidents. We think that 2023 is the year to change that. Feeling safe and secure in your work environment should be a matter of course.

Truck drivers, a profession at risk of injury

In most professions, there are no serious consequences if you do not feel quite yourself, but there are professions where a bad day can have major consequences. It is no coincidence that certain professions require regular health checks and tests to ensure that the individual’s health – both physical and mental – is sufficient to maintain good safety. But what about truck drivers?

“Occupational injury statistics shows that workers in the transport sector, particularly truck drivers, are the most affected by serious workplace accidents...”

The Work Environment Authority’s 2021 report shows that professional drivers (transport and machine operating work) is the occupational category that reports the most workplace accidents in relation to the number of people employed. In addition, it is also the professional drivers who top the statistics on reported workplace accidents with sick leave.

Is being a professional driver a dangerous job?

‘Professional driver’ is a very broad category. From a work environment and risk perspective, the working day can differ significantly between different individuals whose job can be regarded as a professional driver. Long journeys on wide motorways entail certain types of risks. On the other hand, driving in more challenging, busy and crowded areas with cars, cyclists and pedestrians moving around has other risks for both drivers and vehicles. Most couplings and loadings in noisy and hazardous environments also have in-built risks. One thing, however, applies to all drivers, regardless of what type of driver you are: if you’re well and in good shape, this reduces the risk of accidents and injuries. You are simply better able to handle unexpected and difficult situations and avoid unnecessary mistakes that will lead to personal injury, damage or unwanted repair costs if you are well-rested, alert and in good shape.

The Work Environment Authority has identified the following factors as problem areas and risks in the driving profession:

  • Stress related demands for punctuality regardless of road and traffic conditions
  • Long shifts, long-distance haulage, often working overnight
  • Professional driver behaviour and attitudes
  • Non-compliance of professional drivers with the rules of the road, particularly speed limits
  • Distractions from driving as the driver is expected to pay attention to and input information into route planning or delivery systems
  • Distractions by being available via mobile phone/SMS/email while driving
  • There are no procedures for reporting traffic incidents and accidents 

How can the work environment for professional drivers be made safer?

In the aforementioned report there are also proposals for measures to mitigate these risks. The efforts focus on developing the systematic work environment and specifically includes risks in traffic and risks related to road safety. Planning journeys according to current circumstances (length of shift, keeping within speed limits, mobile phone use policy and use of route planning systems).

What can you do to keep your drivers safe at work?

If haulage companies, operators or vehicle owners encourage their drivers to take care of themselves and their health, some of the risks of workplace accidents can be reduced.

Staying in good shape may seem obvious, but there are still a surprising number of drivers who get careless about their own health, so you should encourage and enable your employees, maybe even reward those who make positive efforts with their health and thus improve that of the haulage company as well. For some, this carelessness may be due to ignorance, while for others it may be due to having other priorities and not seeing the benefits of it in the moment.

As long as the statistics show accidents, injuries, exhaustion and sick leave, it must be repeated: Look after your physical and mental health! Ultimately, this is a question of safety – your own and that of others.

Reduced stress and risk of injury for truck drivers

Not being able to influence your own time is a factor that can lead to stress for drivers. However at the same time, it is a big part of the job because it is not possible to predict everything that could happened on the road when loading, unloading and so on. However, through good planning by the haulage company together with drivers, you can keep them happy, have maximum uptime and reduced repair costs through avoiding unnecessary damage that often occurs in stressful situations.

Good planning, a healthy work environment and clear communication make it easier to manage everyday work since everything flows well and efficiently. However, details and professionalism are still vital. Being able to quickly turn around the truck and trailer and smooth couplings are factors which allow work to be carried out as smartly and efficiently as possible and to save time and reduce stress. 

Driver assist systems that contribute to a safe work environment

A driver assist system can be helpful in reducing stress and unnecessary repair costs. VBG’s VBG Driver Assist guides drivers through audio signals inside the cab for fast and safe coupling. Drivers do not need to leave the cab to check the position of the drawbar, and can still safely and securely perform a perfect coupling on the first attempt. Those who have already tested the new system point out the peace of mind that the system gives them in their everyday work. The system also warns drivers of the risk of jackknifing and can thus rectify hazardous jackknife situations in time to avoid expensive repair costs.

“I can no longer imagine driving my truck without VBG Driver Assist. I’ve got used to the support I get and can relax more at work. [...] The system gives me peace of mind that I really appreciate.”Jonny Andersson – Andersson & Wernlund AB

If you want to know more about VBG’s driver assist system, you can find more information here

Watch this video here if you want to know how you can easily setup the system. 

5 easy tips to feel good as a professional driver

We have gathered some basic tips together that contribute to a safe and secure work environment for professional drivers. Download them today and start 2023 in a safe and stress-free way!

5 tips for safety and comfort in the driver’s cab


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