Wellness Lessons From Transportation Companies

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Wellness Lessons From Transportation Companies


The purpose of this report is to describe wellness programs and offer two suggestions for improving how they are delivered to commercial drivers and operators. It is not a large sample empirical study from which generalizations can be made. Rather, the Mineta Transportation Institute commissioned brief case studies of transportation companies to show what several organizations have done.

Stress, nicotine use, sleep apnea, obesity and lack of information are significant barriers to wellness in commercial drivers/operators. Many wellness programs ask the individual driver/operator to lose weight; exercise more; and monitor blood pressure, glucose, cholesterol and other such indicators of health. However, little is done to change the environment or adopt structural interventions such as forbidding nicotine use, as is possible in 20 states. Other structural interventions include those possible at the levels of the company and community, including access to healthy food rather than the junk food drivers often can find on the road. At the societal level, more public transit that gets people walking and out of their cars, cities designed for people to walk and cycle in rather than drive from work to a sprawling suburb, and encouraging food manufacturers to make healthy food (rather than a toxic mix of sodium, fat and sugar to boost one’s craving for a particular food) are just a few measures that could improve the health and well being of the public.

The Union Pacific Corporation (rail transportation), and Con-way Freight (trucking) are included because they were willing to share information and are large publicly traded companies. The Utah Transit Authority (UTA) is included because other transit authorities recommended it to the authors, as it has a long history in wellness as part of local government and it too chose to participate.

Two issues are discussed: the first is the importance of using the mitigation of erectile dysfunction in the promotion of wellness programs to commercial drivers/operators and the second issue is to urge employers to consider banning tobacco use, both on and off the job, where legal.



Asbjorn Osland, Professor of Management, at San Jose State University, received his doctorate and MBA from Case Western Reserve University. He also holds an MSW and a post-baccalaureate in accounting. He has taught full time since 1993. Before that he worked abroad in Latin America and West Africa for 13 years for Chiquita Brands (2 years in Panama), Plan International (10 years in various countries), and Peace Corps in Colombia. His research interests are case writing, business and society, and international HRM, with over 60 published articles, cases and chapters and a comparable number of conference presentations.


Nanette Clinch, an attorney with a doctorate in English, teaches business law and ethics in the College of Business at San Jose State University. She practiced civil and criminal law, including service as an Assistant Prosecutor in New Jersey, gaining appointments as Chief of the Arson Section and Chief of the Environmental Crimes Section, which she organized. Research interests include beauty, ethical judgment, bioethics, religion and the law, classical philosophy, Shakespeare, and the moral imagination. She received a B.A. magna cum laude from Mount Holyoke College, a PhD from the University of Toronto and a J.D. from Rutgers Law School-Newark.


Lauren Ramsay, an industrial/organizational psychologist, is an Assistant Professor in the College Business at San José State University where she teaches human resource management courses and conducts research on organizational selection systems, diversity, and justice in the global workplace. Her research has been published in the international arena. She obtained her MA and PhD in industrial/organizational psychology from Michigan State University. She also holds an M Ed in counseling from the University of Puget Sound and a B.Soc.Sc. in industrial psychology and economic history from the University of Natal, South Africa. She is certified as a Senior Professional in Human Resources and has worked in industry in the United States, United Kingdom, and South Africa.


Pamela Wells is a lecturer at San Jose State University in the College of Business. She has been a manager in health care for over 25 years. Her research interests are occupational health and safety, workplace bullying, and interpersonal relationships. She owns and operates Critical Moments Safety Training, LLC, a small business in the Bay Area dedicated to on site corporate safety training. Ms. Wells has a Masters in Industrial/Organizational Psychology from San Jose State University. She has co-authored publications in peer-reviewed journals such the Journal of Critical Incidents, Annual Advances in Business Cases, and Health Care Manager as well as contributing cases to a textbook (Organizational Behavior: An Experiential Approach) and website (www.caseplace.org). She has consistently high teaching ratings at SJSU.

September 2011
Commercial drivers
Erectile dysfunction



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