July 22, 2019

Lorry Drivers Suffer Most From Polluted Air

There’s so much said to and about haulage drivers concerning how much we contribute to the amount of emissions going into the air – and these days you really can’t get away from it. What with talk of HGVs, CAZs, EVs, alternative fuels and noxious NO2, sometimes it’s enough to make your head spin!

But now studies have shown that it might not be the information overload or the worrying financial ramifications of the fight to raise our air quality standards that’s making us feel a little under the weather…

The Other Side of the Clean Air Issue

For haulage drivers, one very large concern about the UK’s commitment to a greener road transport industry is about how much it costs us financially – in terms of switching to more sustainable vehicles or working within CAZs. However there’s another very big cost and, according to research, we’re definitely getting the rough end of the stick.

Haulage Drivers Have Highest Exposure to Air Pollution

Research and tests carried out to track how pollution affects people working and/or living in London showed that haulage drivers had the highest exposure by far. Participants in the test also included construction and other outdoor workers, but lorry drivers were the worst affected – up to six times as much as an office worker.

Considering that research suggests high levels of NO2 contribute to nearly 30,000 deaths a year, it’s a pretty worrying revelation.

What’s Being Done?

Thankfully, there are initiatives in place to ensure this issue gets on the governmental agenda. The #AirWeShare campaign and the British Safety Council are putting pressure on employers, the government and regulators to recognise the dangers of ambient air pollution and see it as an occupational hazard.

The BSC says the findings of research are clear, and that your health is definitely more at risk if you drive or work outdoors in a polluted area. They say, however, that danger lies in the fact that employers are waiting to see what the regulators and government are going to do about the issue, instead of putting measures in place to safeguard their employees themselves.

Lost in the Debate

There’s no doubt this is all getting a bit lost in the debate of Clean Air Zones and greening the industry. Many haulage workers are already struggling with the financial costs of helping to create more sustainable industry, but it seems the effects on drivers’ respiratory, cardiovascular and mental health could well be a far more urgent issue. Scary stuff.

Any thoughts? Feel free to let us know what you think.

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