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image of commercial truck driving on snowy road

According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) truck driving is one of the most hazardous occupations in the U.S. Approximately 12 percent of all job-related deaths happened to workers in the trucking industry. Truckers also experience the highest number of non-fatal accidents as approximately 65,000 truck drivers suffered injuries in illness, causing them to miss work in 2012.

Truck drivers need to understand the importance of following safety guidelines and the risks they face as they perform their job duties on a daily basis. Here are the top 4 types of injuries truck drivers receive while on the job.

 1. Overexertion

Overexertion accounts for 29 percent of the injuries reported to the Bureau of Labor each year. Drivers tend to experience injuries due to overexertion in their backs, legs, arms and hands. This is often due to having to sit for prolonged periods of time as well as other manual handling tasks.

2. Contact with objects or equipment

Approximately 25 percent of injuries are due to repairing or working on their commercial motor vehicle.

3. Transportation accidents

About 12 percent of the injuries reported are due to a traffic incidence of some type. Driving for prolonged periods of time and driving during night-time hours, during bad weather and when facing poor road conditions all have been found to increase the risk of transportation-related accidents.

4. Falling

Drivers of commercial motor vehicles are at risk from falling, especially when climbing in or descending from the truck, whether to or from the cab or during loading or unloading the trailer.

What measures can be taken to prevent these types of injuries? Here are 9 ways commercial truck drivers can reduce their risk of on-the-job injuries and illnesses.

  1. Always follow safety guidelines for lifting and moving heavy or awkward loads.
  2. Don’t try to lift too-heavy objects alone. If you must load or unload yourself, use a mechanical lifting aid whenever possible.
  3. Avoid inhaling concentrated exhaust fumes that occur when you’re near the vehicle.
  4. Do not idle the vehicle when parked. It is best to turn off the engine when parked, especially in an enclosed area.
  5. Wear appropriate protective gear and clothing when needed (i.e. chemical resistant gloves, steel-toed boots and overalls.)
  6. Install a ergonomically designed driver’s seat.
  7. Take short, frequent breaks when required to drive for long distances.
  8. Attend training sessions related to recognizing and responding to the threat of violence.
  9. Ensure you have a plan for how you will respond to accidents and injuries before an incident occurs.

Most fatal accidents that are suffered by fleet commercial vehicle drivers are due to traffic and transportation issues; most non-fatal accidents result from overexertion, falls and coming into contact with objects and equipment. Encompass Risk Solutions encourages you to be safe and require your drivers to follow prudent safe driving practices and protocols. Learn more about Encompass Risk Solutions and more ways to improve fleet safety.

Article courtesy of Jeff Maconaghy of Encompass Risk Solutions
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