Schneider wins award for sleep apnea treatment program
Mar 8, 2007 11:10 AM
Schneider National Inc, Green Bay WI, has received the 2007 National Sleep Foundation (NSF) Healthy Sleep Community Award for creating an obstructive sleep apnea detection and treatment program for its drivers, according to information from the foundation.
"Ideally, we expect our program will serve as a model for the entire trucking industry," said Don Osterberg, vice-president, safety and training for Schneider. "The industry needs to generate awareness of this problem, educate drivers to the dangers of untreated sleep apnea, provide resources to help them get treated, and ultimately make the roads safer for everyone."
Through the program, 547 Schneider drivers were tested from April to December 2006. Of those tested, 445 (80 percent) were diagnosed with a sleep disorder and were provided treatment. Schneider initiated an education campaign to raise awareness within the organization. The carrier utilized newsletters, posters, leadership involvement, and one-on-one meetings with its drivers, according to the NSF information.
Sleep apnea is characterized by pauses in breathing that last at least 10 seconds or more and can occur up to 400 times per night. Signs of sleep apnea include daytime sleepiness, falling asleep at inappropriate times, loud snoring, depression, irritability, loss of sex drive, morning headaches, frequent nighttime urination, lack of concentration, and memory impairment. Research indicates that untreated sleep apnea puts drivers at increased risk for motor vehicle crashes as well as hypertension, cardiovascular disease, stroke, and diabetes, and may contribute to obesity, NSF said.
In addition to the health and safety aspects, Schneider saw a reduction in health care costs. These savings were passed on to its drivers, as Schneider provided each identified driver with a free continuous positive airway pressure machine, which is the standard treatment for sleep apnea, according to the NSF information.
Schneider initiated its tests after a study by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and the American Trucking Associations (ATA)revealed up to 28 percent of commercial driver license holders have some severity of the condition.
"Truck and motorcoach drivers are a significant at risk group for OSA (obstructive sleep apnea) and will continue to be so as the average age of drivers continues to increase over the next 20 years," said Richard Gelula, NSF chief executive officer. "Schneider National recognized the problem and took steps to make its drivers healthier and the highways safer for everyone. It is an admirable and very necessary campaign."
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