Get Trucking Fit: mobilising lorry drivers to improve health - Business in the Community

Get Trucking Fit: mobilising lorry drivers to improve health

How Anglian Water is helping to improve the health and wellbeing of its employees, in particular its lorry drivers., through its ‘Get Trucking Fit’ initiative.

The ‘Get Trucking Fit’ initiative is a bespoke 12 week health programme developed in response to high levels of sickness absence within the Water Recycling Operational Logistics (WROL) team at Anglian Water. This group had a 12 Days Lost per employee (DLPE) sickness absence rate, significantly higher than the business average target of 5 DLPE. A number of health issues were also reported across the team, further driving the timely need for a health intervention.  

The concept

The WROL team contains most of Anglian Water’s lorry drivers (and some office-based staff), a group exposed to a multitude of health risks associated with their job, including long and variable working hours and extended periods of sitting. Lorry drivers exhibit higher than average rates of obesity, obesity-related co-morbidities such as diabetes and high blood pressure, and have a significantly reduced life expectancy compared to other occupational groups. 

The key objectives of Anglian Water’s initiative was to better understand the high-risk health factors associated with this group and to help improve their health and wellbeing. This initiative goes beyond Anglian Water’s standard LIFE health and safety programme to deliver a targeted intervention to improve team health, and by extension, ensure the safe operation of its HGVs.    


The initiative was launched in late 2023 with four phases: 

  1. Secure buy-in from Senior Leadership/Manager teams. HGV drivers are key to the company’s operations, so senior support was key to allow participants time to participate in the programme. The company’s Unions were also fully supportive of this initiative and involved in supporting the roll-out of it. 
  2. Several online sessions were held with the team to raise awareness of the potential health risk associated with their roles, the new initiative and the potential benefits. 
  3. A research-based health screening was held to survey lifestyle factors and determine areas of risk within the team. The data captured was used to determine the highest risk group of people that would be invited to participate in the programme. Those that were invited to take part had an in-person health assessment with the Occupational Health team to ascertain the status of their current health. 
  4. The programme has just concluded and focused predominantly on diet, exercise and musculoskeletal-related rehab – the main issues highlighted from the health screening. The group were under the supervision of a diet and exercise specialist and received 1:1 personal coaching for the 12-week programme. Separately, they had a rehab specialist from IPRS health talking them through how to rehabilitate any existing injuries they may have. 

At the end of the 12-week programme they will be surveyed to see how their lifestyle and health factors have improved using a mixture of quantitative and qualitative measures.  


Long distance lorry drivers as an occupational group are incredibly under-researched, the most recent research was conducted by Dr Stacy Clemes on the ‘Structured Health Intervention For Truckers’ (the SHIFT programme).1

The ‘Get Trucking Fit’ programme was specifically designed for this high-risk group and focuses on a 1:1 diet and exercise programme aimed at influencing health behaviours and creating sustainable change for those participating in the programme. Members of the group are invited to join an app provided by the programme leads (Elevate Gym, Peterborough) and are provided with a variety of tools, guides and workout videos to support them on their journey alongside personal 1:1 coaching throughout the programme.

Regular team check-ins are arranged and low level incentivisation has been used to motivate those to continue to progress. This programme is unique as it looks at the participants as individuals that all have different needs. It was completed at the end of March 2024.


The benefits of this programme have not been fully realised yet as it has only just completed. However, there has been a notable increase in engagement in wellbeing as a result of this programme. Many participants had commented in the free text section of the health screening that they were looking for more support with their wellbeing, citing examples such as physio and mental health support – services which exist in Anglian Water but they were not aware of. 

More generally there were good rates of engagement in:  

  • Health survey completion – 122 people in the WROL team completed the health screening. 
  • High risk group participation – 37 people were selected to participate in the health programme and only four have withdrawn for health reasons. Whilst attendance to live sessions for the health programme has been average, recordings were provided for those involved to watch back, and engagement in these has been high.  
  • Support session – the health survey identified that many individuals weren’t aware of the resources available to them as an Anglian Water employee so in response a toolkit was created as an easy access tool to support with this and three webinars have been hosted to talk through those resources to further raise awareness. 

It is hoped that this initiative and the associated engagement will see a reduction in sickness absence for this business area. 


Anglian Water believes that a targeted approach of this nature will improve employee engagement, health and overall health and sickness rates. A paper has been produced internally to demonstrate various health and wellbeing interventions this approach could be used for depending on the health or wellbeing risk that is present.

An outline plan for key stakeholders demonstrates a clear plan from engagement to delivery of the programme and what outcomes could be measured to demonstrate success. Given the growing and needed focus on health and wellbeing across the sector and beyond, this initiative could benefit many organisations in terms of its wider role out if led and supported by the right people. Primarily, it is aimed at supporting employees to remain healthy and well at work and to improve poor heath behaviours, but ultimately it should be considered as attributing to their overall safety at work as well. 

Next steps



1] The effectiveness of the Structured Health Intervention For Truckers (SHIFT): a cluster randomised controlled trial (RCT), Stacey A. Clemes 2022.