Recruiting Safely During a Pandemic

Are you sick and tired of everything COVID? Yeah, I know that I am. The first thing I want to say in this article is that you truck drivers are heroes! I mean that. As the USA spikes up in cases (at least at the time that I am writing this), thousands of truck drivers keep crossing the border and driving deep into the United States. Many of you are going right into the flare-up areas. I commend you and I repeat; you are heroes! If it were not for you, our store shelves would be empty and things like produce would be in short supply and horrendously expensive. You truck drivers are performing spectacularly and creating a positive image for the entire industry.

From a former profit centre manager (truck driver), I thank you.

I am sure that this whole situation must be stressful for you and other drivers. But not just for drivers – how about a driver’s family? Your children or grandchildren must worry about you. Your spouse must be worried sick for your health. And the worry level rises a few notches if you the truck driver have any medical conditions that may make you even more susceptible to this pandemic.

I have been a truck driver so I can imagine the stresses you are under. Not only are you driving a few hundred miles a day, dealing with the traffic and some of the crazy other motorists that you find out there, but now add on COVID.

I have never had a spouse or a very close family member who is a truck driver. So, I have difficulty imagining the stress they are feeling… wondering and worrying every day while you, the driver, are away from home, doing what you have mostly always done, safely crossing the border legally, earning money and providing for your family.

So, what is this article all about? Today I want to discuss mental health. Please understand that I am no mental health expert so I am going to stay away from trying to offer any “help” other than to point out resources for you and your family members.

If you or a family member are feeling the stress of it all, there is help available. Your company benefits often cover most of the expenses but if you do not have benefits (which is common in the trucking industry), then many of the resources that I’m suggesting can benefit you as they are at no cost. Yes, free!

Why am I writing about mental health in a trucking safety article? It is because any distraction is a safety issue. If you are worrying about a family member and how they are coping, then it is a safety issue. And, caring about you is just who I am.

I recently had Linda Corkum from the Trucking Safety Association of Nova Scotia on my podcast and Linda spoke about the general mental health of truck drivers and the resources that are available for them.

Linda said that if you are in crisis, then call 1-833-456-4566. This telephone number is Crisis Service, Canada. This organization is there to help you or any of your family members. You can also reach them on their website:

Another great online resource is Wellness Together Canada: They have a wealth of helpful information.

Trucking HR Canada has a free guide called “Gearing Up For Workplace Mental Health.” This document is excellent for you because it explains your rights and what your employer is obliged to do. Oh, I hear you – some of you do not have employers because you are part of the Driver Inc. group. This may or may not apply to you. For the Driver Inc. group, it gets very confusing.

One suggestion that Linda has for coping with stress is to breathe. Yes, it does sound simple but breathing deeply can be a big help. Apps are available at the app store that can guide you on deep breathing for relaxation. With a simple search, you will find several.

But no matter what is causing your stress, you need to act. Action will make you feel better. Breathing will make you feel better. Another idea is to take a break. Yup, take a break. I like going for a walk when I get stressed. Then I am getting some fresh air, breathing and de-stressing.

Do not wait till you get home to do something about the source of your stress. Take some action now. You will feel better.

Chris Harris
Top Dawg, Safety Dawg Inc.
@safety_dawg (twitter)

About Chris Harris, Safety Dawg

Chris has been involved in trucking most of his adult life. He drove truck for and worked in various office/management positions for a major truck company. His last position of 5 years in the safety department where he was responsible for the recruiting of Owner Operators and their compliance. He joined a trucking insurance company in 2001 and has been in the insurance side of things until making Safety Dawg a full-time endeavour.