Truck drivers’ health in spotlight

2016-06-08 06:00
KELRN VERVOER is the latest addition to the MBSA’s workplace wellness lineage. Here are the members of the Kelrn workplace wellness committee with Kenne de Kock, CEO of Kelrn. From the left are, front: Koos Badenhorst (employee: human resources), Wilfred Smit (employee) and John Leeuw (employee); back: De Kock, Jeffrey Madito (employee), Jacques van Niekerk (employee) and Theresa Late­gan (employee).                                                                                 Photo: Christiaan Cloete

KELRN VERVOER is the latest addition to the MBSA’s workplace wellness lineage. Here are the members of the Kelrn workplace wellness committee with Kenne de Kock, CEO of Kelrn. From the left are, front: Koos Badenhorst (employee: human resources), Wilfred Smit (employee) and John Leeuw (employee); back: De Kock, Jeffrey Madito (employee), Jacques van Niekerk (employee) and Theresa Late­gan (employee). Photo: Christiaan Cloete

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THE lifestyle of a truck driver is often characterised by very hard and grueling hours, long distances and prolonged loneliness.

A sedentary lifestyle behind the wheel usually goes hand in hand with an unhealthy lifestyle and eating habits, which in turn is linked to other health problems such as heart disease and diabetes.

Loneliness has pushed many drivers, married or single, to find comfort on the side of the road. This is generally found in the arms of sex workers. Many of these workers are driven by the high unemployment rates to provide a service that will place food on the table. The consequences are devastating, with STDs and HIV/Aids being spread from one truck stop to another without any discrimination.

These are some of the reasons the National Bargaining Council for the Road Freight and Logistics Industry (NBCRFLI) started its trucking wellness programme in 1999.

The programme was intended to create HIV/Aids and STD awareness amongst long-distance truck drivers, commercial sex workers and the vulnerable communities around truck stops. The first Trucking Wellness Roadside Wellness Centre was established in Beaufort-West in 2000. These wellness centres exist along all major routes within the nine provinces of South Africa.

Today there are 15 mobile wellness centres and 23 roadside wellness centres operating along major routes.

Through its corporate social responsibility programme, Mercedes-Benz Southern Africa (MBSA) has earnestly supported the trucking wellness project since its inception and started its own trucking wellness programme in 2009 to reduce the risk of diseases such as HIV/Aids.

Kelrn Vervoer, a logistics solutions provider with a nationwide footprint, is the latest addition to the workplace wellness lineage. With the start of implementation of the Workplace Wellness Programme at Kelrn dating back to April 2015, Kelrn successfully launched their Workplace Wellness Programme on 31 May 2016.

At an event held in at Kelrn on Tuesday, 31 May, Kobus van Zyl, executive director: Daimler Trucks & Buses Southern Africa, said: “South Africa’s trucking industry is at the economic heart of this country, pumping prosperity to our people. Healthy, skilled truck drivers are one of the key issues which we have chosen to wholeheartedly support as a corporate thought leader and responsible corporate citizen. As such, collaboration remains an important enabler for MBSA as we strive for the sustainability of the transport sector in South Africa, with employee wellbeing as a key contributor.”

Kenne de Kock, CEO of Kelrn, said: “At Kelrn, we are aware of the value of good drivers, as well as employees in good health. We care about the health and well-being of our personnel and are grateful to be a part of the Fleet Owner Workplace Wellness Programme with MBSA. This has certainly proven to us that MBSA is one of the few manufacturers who not only cares about business, but also truly cares about the well-being of their customers and stakeholders, especially that of long-distance truck drivers. This includes road safety as well. We applaud MBSA for playing their part within the road freight and logistics industry in South Africa.”

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