Truck driving is a relatively stable blue-collar profession that requires minimal specialized education and training while providing competitive compensation. Truck drivers recognize that they assume some degree of risk simply by showing up to work because of the possibility of a collision, which is part of the reason they receive such excellent wages.
However, crash-related injuries are actually a relatively minor safety concern for commercial drivers. When a semi-truck collides with another vehicle, the people in the smaller vehicle are usually at risk of injury, while the occupants of the semi-truck are less likely to be hurt because they are largely insulated from the force of a crash by the construction of their vehicle. However, there are many other ways in which truck drivers could end up hurt on the job. These are the top safety concerns for those in the commercial transportation industry.
Slips, trips and falls
Commercial drivers often need to access warehouses and loading docks multiple times throughout each shift. These facilities are often at least partially exposed to the elements, making them somewhat hazardous. Drivers who slip and fall could break bones or suffer brain injuries that will leave them with tens of thousands of dollars in medical bills and possibly challenges performing their jobs.
Contact with objects
Commercial drivers could end up injured if someone on a forklift backs into them on a loading dock or if crates fall down while they inspect a trailer. There are countless ways in which accidental contact with other objects, including vehicles, can lead to an injury for those in the commercial transportation profession, and many times the injuries that they suffer will require a lengthy leave of absence from work.
Overexertion and wear and tear
Some truck drivers will hurt themselves while loading a trailer by lifting more than their bodies can handle. Others may develop repetitive stress injuries from spending 10 hours or more each day gripping is steering wheel and driving. The physical demands of truck driving can lead to overexertion and repetitive use injuries in the hands and forearms, back and hips. Drivers may require a leave of absence or even a change in their working conditions if they push their bodies too far or continue performing the job for decades.
Commercial drivers generally have the option of pursuing workers’ compensation benefits if they get hurt at work. Learning about and avoiding the most common causes of injury can help drivers to minimize their risk of sustaining employment-related harm. But, when such harm does occur, knowing that compensation may be available can be helpful as well.