For corporations, obesity can impact absenteeism and productivity, as well as workers compensation claims.
$73.1 billion a year Research released by Duke University found that the cost to employers of obesity among full-time employees was an estimated $73.1 billion a year. What’s more, severely obese individuals with a body mass index greater than 35 accounted for 61% of all obese employee costs, though they represent only 37% of the overall obese population.
Question: So if obesity in general is important in today’s workplace, particularly from an economic standpoint, why is Driver Fitness, in particular, so important?
High Risk Drivers = High Costs In the 2002 article "Selling Health to High-Risk Workers," S.F. Gale estimates that 10 percent of employees consume 80 percent of health care costs. FMCSA's "Synthesis 15" reinforces that estimate in a case study of Waste Management, Inc., one of the nation's largest short-haul trucking companies. Internal analysis showed that just over 10 percent of Waste Management's employees used 80 percent of dollars spent on health care, workers' compensation, absence, and disability benefits. This high-risk group racked up average annual costs of $17,000 per person -- compared to less than $500 per person for the rest of its employees. The numbers were even worse when focusing only on drivers: 1.4 percent of high-risk employees were responsible for 40 percent of total benefit dollars.
Case Study: Prime – Fleet BMI: 33.04 (2538 drivers – 38%) Feb 20, 2015 BMI 33.03 with 2,319 drivers in the program out of 6,700 That’s 59.16% of the fleet that is obese. National average for truck drivers is 69%
COST OF OBESITY AT PRIME CDC estimate for 6178 drivers: $6,000,700.00 Estimate according to Anderson LH, Martinson BC, Crain AL, Pronk NP, Whitebird RR, Fine LJ, et al. Health care charges associated with physical inactivity, overweight, and obesity. Prev Chronic Dis [serial online] 2005 Oct [date cited]. Available from: URL: http://www.cdc.gov/pcd/issues/2005/oct/04_0118.htm http://www.cdc.gov/pcd/issues/2005/oct/04_0118.htm $10,830,434.33
Workers Compensation 2011: 77 Drivers in the Refrigerated Division filed Workers Compensation Claims out of Missouri that resulted in 5,374 days away from work. 2012: 66 Drivers in the Refrigerated Division filed Workers Compensation Claims out of Missouri that resulted in 3,993 days away from work Thus, in the year that the Driver Health and Fitness program was implemented and Prime Founder & President Robert Low made a commitment to talk about driver wellness every week: 11 fewer drivers (-14%) filed claims that resulted in 1,381 fewer days away from work (-25%).
CDC Estimated Cost Savings of Reducing Fleet BMI by 1 Point Medical cost savings: $341,000 Work loss cost savings: $137,200 Total medical and work loss costs savings: $478,200
CDC Estimated Cost Savings of Reducing Fleet BMI < 30.0 Medical cost savings: $521,500 Work loss cost savings: $206,700 Total medical and work loss costs savings: $728,200
Does this make sense? Can Prime really save $478,200 if 3,671 Prime drivers lost 10 lbs. each? That’s $130 per driver or $13 per pound lost. Answer: Not really or maybe. But we can save that much or more if we have an effect on the 1.4% that contribute 40% of the costs.
THE PREMATURE DEATH EPIDEMIC Statistics state that the average lifespan of a long haul driver is just 61 to 64 years of age. What’s happening to drivers?
Driver Health as Public Policy It already is public policy. Drivers have to pass a physical every two years. When they say there is a capacity crunch or a shortage of experienced CDL holders, does driver fitness, or lack thereof, have something to do with this? If so, what affect does this have on the public in terms of availability of goods and the cost of those goods?
And it doesn't stop there. It gets worse. Once you become overweight or obese you are 20% to 30% more likely to develop severe obstructive sleep apnea.
Truck drivers with sleep apnea have up to a 7-fold increased risk of being involved in a motor vehicle crash." [from Science Daily Mar. 12, 2009] Obese truck drivers with sleep-disordered breathing (SDB) caused 45% more accidents/mile driven than obese drivers without SDB.
July 2007 120,000 large truck crashes between April 2001 and December 2003 Data from 963 crashes used as representative Prescription drug use was the 3 rd top factor coded for large trucks and their drivers. Over the counter drug use was 8 th and Fatigue was the 10 th For accidents involving a large truck and a passenger vehicle, over-the-counter drug use was the 5 th top factor coded for the truck driver, Fatigue was the 7 th and Illness was 16 th. From the data it is estimated that over-the-counter drug use, illness and fatigue was a factor in 47,000 truck accidents (33%). Last year (2012), 759 truckers died, the highest death toll for any occupation.
Congress and the Department of Transportation have known about the problem of sleep apnea among a significant minority of truckers for years. A Government Accountability Office report names two high profile accidents linked to the condition: One that killed a Kansas mother and her son and another that claimed the life of a Tennessee state trooper in a construction zone in 2000. In both instances the trucker survived to face criminal charges. A medical advisory panel of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration - a regulatory authority under the US DOT - recommended that truckers be screened and treated for sleep apnea in 2008. A nearly $63 million settlement was reached in a lawsuit filed after a tractor-trailer driver of Associated Wholesale Grocers, Inc. slammed into a line of stopped cars along the Oklahoma turnpike and killed 10 people. The settlement was reached with relatives of eight of the victims. Their lawsuit alleged the truck's operator, Associated Wholesale Grocers Inc., failed to properly train and supervise the driver before the June 2009 crash on the Will Rogers Turnpike in northeastern Oklahoma. The first lawsuit against a commercial carrier blaming sleep apnea for contributing to a fatal highway crash was settled earlier this month in Texas. Wanda Lindsay, who became an activist against sleep apnea in the trucking industry after her husband was killed in a May 2010 crash, settled with Celadon for $3 millioncrashTexas Wanda Lindsay, who became an activist against sleep apnea The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is currently considering changes in the law that would place driving restrictions on sleep-apnea diagnosed truckers. In one recommendation made by the Medical Review Board and the Motor Carrier Safety Committee, drivers with a BMI (body mass index) of 35 or higher would have to undergo a sleep apnea evaluation.Safetychanges in the law