Making the Hard Decisions

making the hard decisions

The long term fallout from the current pandemic crisis is likely to be an increase in the mental health problems the trucking industry suffers from, where everyday workers in the industry are making the hard decisions.

One of the most stressful experiences for anyone is making decisions where the choice is between two unwanted outcomes, between the devil and the deep blue sea. In the past these decisions have been ones like deciding whether to take some rest now to avoid potential fatigue issue on the road, but create problems with a late delivery, or to just hit the road and hope it will be alright this time.

These sorts of decisions can be life changing and may have disastrous outcomes, but workers in the trucking industry make them everyday. Making difficult choices like this simple cranks up the tension in the mind of the truckie and ups the chance of issues on the highway.

Now, with the advent of Covid-19, we have added another layer of complexity on top of the ‘normal’ level of stress, by introducing a potentially deadly disease into the equation. Not only does a driver have to monitor their fatigue and driving ability, but now has to be extra careful, because their job is one of those which could make them the cause of a super-spreader event. No pressure there!

To ramp the issue up further, the truck driver is deprived of normal human interaction, for days at a time. They have to stay in their cabin at the DC, minimise human contact at refuelling stops, which are often the only chance to socialise during a long week on the road. The feeling of isolation, while doing a job which is stressful at the best of times, simply multiplies the problems.

Now the calls to recognise that transport is an essential service, so that employees can continue to work in proximity to others, even if they are a close contact of someone with the virus, or have had the virus themselves.

For most employees a positive test will mean seven days of isolation, but also the clear conscience of someone who has not been irresponsible and minimised their contribution to the spread of the virus.

However, for truckies and others working in logistics this period of isolation may now be forgone, to keep the wheels of the economy turning. Even if asymptomatic, the fact that you now you may well be positive, and may pass it on to others who will not be symptomatic is not a comfortable place to be.

We can be certain that as this crisis continues, and it will for a long time, the level of tension will simply get worse in the industry, not least because this anxiety and pressure has now been a part of everyday life in the trucking industry for nearly two years.

The situation is going to build up pressure for everyone around the industry, especially for those who are specifically there to care for driver health, like Healthy Heads in Trucks and Sheds and other organisations in the space. Good luck!

making the hard decisions

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