COVID-19 and the Impact on Truckers
July 28, 2020
By Kathy Steele, Psy.D, HSP.
We have heard a lot about essential workers who have been impacted by the recent events of COVID-19. When we think of industries who provide us with essential needs, truckers have traditionally been at the bottom of the list. We think of firefighters, police, hospital workers, doctors, teachers, etc. During the pandemic, the supply of our essential needs went down, and demand went up. This put more pressure on delivery services to restock the shelves of grocery stores with goods with which we depend on a daily basis. With that, what we didn’t see behind the scenes was that the trucking industry was hurting too. Drivers were being furloughed and laid off, just as many hospital workers were. That put pressure on those drivers who were maintaining their jobs, with increased driving hours, heavier loads, and longer trips on the road. For those drivers who had family, the strain was increased as schools shut down. In addition, truck drivers often depend on pass through towns for rest stops, fuel, and nutrition, all of which were limited, and truck drivers were also under undo pressure as the health risks of being on the road increased.
Truck drivers did not ask to be placed in such an essential position. Driving a truck offers its own stressors, such as following safety regulations for crash prevention, managing one’s health, adapting to shift work, maintaining good sleep hygiene, and dealing with daily stress. With that, there can be a sense of camaraderie with fellow truck drivers. When those relationships dwindle, as fewer drivers are on the road, some of the support that was built-in began to dissipate. At that point, stressors increased with the fears of a pandemic, growing isolation, and concern of losing one’s job. These factors, when combined, may trigger mental health issues, such as depression. These mental health issues can begin to interfere with job performance, such as increased issues with safety and decreased self-care (poor nutrition, poor sleep, deteriorating health, etc.).
Employers of trucking industries do not know where to turn, and how to offer support to their drivers. Utilization of a company who can offer resources to their employees with immediate access can assist with stress reduction and assist in mitigation job dissatisfaction.
R3c can offer such services. Prevention is key, and resources may be provided to your organization and employees. If you are not sure, we can assist in finding solutions to fit your organization.
Ensure the physical and psychological safety and security of your organization. Talk to us.