Could a healthy-eating program help your fleet drivers?

In the fast-paced world of fleet management, what a driver eats can often slip under the radar.

However, the New South Wales Government is keen to put fitness and healthy eating back on the menu - particularly among drivers, who may spend much of their day sitting down and immobile.

The NSW WorkCover division recently launched its $12-million Get Healthy at Work initiative, which is already proving successful across many fleets in the Premier State.

More than 850 workplaces have taken steps to develop the support they offer to their drivers through a range of innovative ideas. Some of these have included revamping canteen menus to offer healthy alternatives, colour coding food to give drivers more insight into their diets and partnering with gyms and health insurers to hand better incentives to employees.

Drivers have been targeted for the initiative after analysis by PricewaterhouseCoopers found they are a high risk for developing chronic diseases, such as Type II diabetes and heart disease.

As such, a fleet manager may wish to consider promoting wellbeing and fitness similarly as part of their occupational health and safety (OH&S) commitment. What's more, those who have begun using the program speak highly of the benefits.

Improving safety, productivity and happiness?

Marco Rindo, work health and safety compliance manager at Carey's Freight Lines in Tamworth said the program has turned his workplace on its head in terms of engagement.

"Healthy workers are happier in their work, less likely to be home sick and also more productive when they are at work. For drivers in particular, a healthy, fitter worker is more alert and less likely to become fatigued and put at risk themselves or others on the road," he said.

Meanwhile, General Manager for TNT Australia said a rollout of healthy-eating initiatives in its Enfield branch helped to strengthen the workforce.

"Feedback from staff indicates they are healthier, they tend to be happier and more are making informed food and lifestyle choices," he explained. "The minute you start to take a sincere interest in your people, in turn they take a more sincere interest and investment in the company - and that's good for business."

With a recent Roy Morgan Research study finding that only 2 per cent of Australians eat the required amount of fruit and vegetables each day, there certainly seems to be room for improvement among many fleets across the country.

For more help improving OH&S in your business, contact the experts at Smartfleet for professional advice and a range of unique fleet services.