Unusually long working hours, long periods away from home, and tough driving conditions—these are some of the problems that an average Indian truck driver faces. For many of them, occupational health issues resulting from their challenging working conditions often add to their woes.

Over 50% of Indian truckers face driving-related health issues, which includes problems related to obesity, back and joint pain, poor eyesight, breathing problems, etc., said a joint study by market research and consultancy firm Kantar IMRB and automotive lubricant maker Castrol India.

“The ergonomic risk factors faced by truck drivers as a result of awkward and fixed postures, repetitive twisting of back and neck, and working and sleeping in tight spaces result in chronic back, neck and joint pain,” the report reads.

Keeping in line with the findings of the report, Castrol India has devised a rather unusual way to support its customers. Over the next six months, Castrol will encourage truckers across India to focus on their health by training them in yoga. It has tied up with Mumbai’s The Yoga Institute to develop specialised aasanas for drivers.

“We have designed special truck aasanas in consultation with truck drivers keeping their health and wellness in mind. It is essential for a truck driver to be physically fit. We believe the aasanas will improve their lifestyle and performance,” said Hansaji Yogendra, director, The Yoga Institute.

Castrol India’s month-long research across Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai, and Kolkata on the working conditions of long-distance commercial drivers found that truck drivers have a high rate of occupational injuries and have the highest rates of on-job fatality. Around 46% of truckers drive continuously for over six hours, and for 63% of them, health does not feature amongst their top three priorities in life. The survey also points out that 50% of truck drivers make over 12-hour trips, and 62% have not had a medical check up in one year.

“The trucking industry is a significant contributor to our nation’s economic growth and prosperity, and truck drivers are the vital force in moving the nation forward. Taking cognisance of the results of the survey, we are putting in further effort into finding solutions which could mitigate some of the challenges being faced by this section of society,” said Omer Dormen, managing director, Castrol India.

“This negligence of health amongst truck drivers is exacerbated by unfavourable environment and cultural factors like poor driving infrastructure, badly maintained vehicles, lack of hygienic food, places to rest, low wages, unplanned driving schedules and long absences from home,” the report points out. “Most truck drivers end up neglecting their own health while struggling to make a decent living.”

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