Truck drivers have some of the highest rates of workplace injuries in Washington state, according to a report this month from the Department of Labor &Industries.
Each year, one in every 13 truck drivers has a work-related injury serious enough that they have to miss work for a period of time.
The report covering the years 2006 to 2012 includes information to help employers target the hazards their employees are most likely to encounter.
Sprains, strains and overexertion accounted for the most trucking-related injuries, with costs exceeding $107 million and resulting in 576,000 lost-work days.
About 70 percent of these injuries were to drivers. Many of the injuries occurred while connecting or disconnecting a trailer to the truck or opening stuck trailer doors.
Falls were also a leading cause of costly claims involving lost-work days.
“Injury rates in trucking are far above the state average for all other industries combined,” said Caroline Smith, an epidemiologist and the lead researcher on the study, in a statement. “In an industry that continues to be plagued by a shortage of qualified drivers, it’s vital that we keep the ones we have safe and working.”
The report states:
- There were 52 fatalities among trucking industry employees between 2006 and 2012; most of them were vehicle related. All but one were men.
- Among Washington truck drivers, one in 13 was injured seriously enough that they were unable to work and were compensated for lost-work days, in addition to the costs of medical treatment.
- There were 1.5 million lost-work days for all injuries in Washington’s trucking industry during the report’s time period.
- For the 33,000 workers employed in the trucking industry each year from 2006 through 2012, there were nearly 7,000 lost-work claims.
- Despite increased regulations on hours of service and other monitoring, trucking continues to be one of the most hazardous industries in the country.
Labor &Industries produced companion tip sheets, training and educational tools and the Keep Trucking Safe website and blog to help prevent trucking-industry injuries.
- An interactive tool to help drivers prepare for winter travel and remember to be safe when chaining up.
- A test where workers learn about preventing slips, trips and falls while wearing different kinds of shoes on a variety of surfaces.
- Summary of common health issues to truck drivers, such as stress and sleep apnea, and get wellness tips on how to fit in exercise and healthy snacks when on the road.