[Health surveillance of truck drivers: it is not just a question of drugs. Description of a one-year experience]

Med Lav. May-Jun 2010;101(3):207-17.
[Article in Italian]


Background and objectives: The aim of this paper was to analyze the results of the first year of a study on truck drivers'safety and health. The project, which started in 2008, is promoted by EBITRAL (trade unions and business joint association) and carried out by Occupational Medicine Department of Ospedali Riuniti di Bergamo. The final objective is to improve health conditions of truck drivers, by defining appropriate health surveillance protocols in order to asses fitness for work and by promoting the application of healthy life-styles among the workers. The first step required the collection of bio-statistical data, in order to analyze prevalence and incidence of work-related diseases in the future.

Methods: In the first year, 226 truck drivers (mean age 42. 7years, SD 9.5; mean working seniority 26.8 years, SD 10.6) were evaluated via application of an experimental survey protocol: medical examination, questionnaires for the main risks (low back pain, alcohol and drug consumption, sleepiness, etc), instrumental and laboratory tests (ECG, eye test, audiometric test, blood test, urinary drugs test).

Results: We observed 11 work-related diseases: 8 cases of hearing loss caused by chronic exposure to noise and 3 cases of low back disk disease. In 22 cases (9.7%) it was necessary to apply some restrictions to the truck drivers' fitness for work, first of all because of cardiovascular diseases and musculoskeletal disorders. We also found 3 subjects with positive urinary drug test: 1 for cocaine, 1 for methadone, 1 for cannabis. With the application of the experimental survey protocol many unknown diseases were also diagnosed (cardiovascular diseases, arterial hypertension, diabetes mellitus, etc), which could have played a role in increasing accident risk or, without an appropriate therapy, in reducing workers' future fitness for work.

Discussion: This first year of experience made it possible to collect bio-statistical data on truck drivers' work-related diseases. As regards fitness for work, we observed that drug consumption is not the most relevant health problem to consider in order to improve truck drivers' safety and citizens' safety on the road.

Publication types

  • English Abstract

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Automobile Driving*
  • Humans
  • Motor Vehicles
  • Occupational Diseases* / epidemiology
  • Occupational Diseases* / etiology
  • Occupational Health*