State truck drivers face high rates of workplace injuries

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.

Information includes:

  • 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.

Talk to us

More in Herald Business Journal

Barre3 owner Gina Drake leads an exercise class in the Red Barn at 5th Ave S and Maple Street on Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2020 in Edmonds, Washington.  (Andy Bronson / The Herald)
Barre3 teaches a fitness trifecta for balance during COVID-19

The full-body workouts combine strength conditioning, cardio and mindfulness to help you feel balanced.

Boeing’s decorated 787 Dreamliner on display at a celebration for the Boeing Employees Community Fund last year at the Boeing Future of Flight Aviation Center in Mukilteo. (Janice Podsada / Herald file)
Boeing’s deepening 787 inspections risk longer delays

The company will use freed-up space in Everett to inspect and repair the plane’s tiny imperfections.

Hamburger cheese with beef, salad, tomato and ham isolated on white background.
You voted: The best hamburger in Snohomish County

Even during a pandemic, people still have their favorites.

In this image taken from video, the engine of United Airlines Flight 328 is on fire after after experiencing "a right-engine failure" shortly after takeoff from Denver International Airport, Saturday, Feb. 20, 2021, in Denver, Colo. The Boeing 777 landed safely and none of the passengers or crew onboard were hurt. (Chad Schnell via AP)
Metal fatigue seen as trigger for Boeing 777 engine failure

A preliminary investigation suggested a crack that grew gradually over time prompted the failure.

This Saturday, Feb. 20, 2021 photo provided by Hayden Smith shows United Airlines Flight 328 approaching Denver International Airport, after experiencing "a right-engine failure" shortly after takeoff from Denver. Federal regulators are investigating what caused a catastrophic engine failure on the plane that rained debris on Denver suburbs as the aircraft made an emergency landing. Authorities said nobody aboard or on the ground was hurt despite large pieces of the engine casing that narrowly missed homes below. (Hayden Smith via AP)
Boeing: 777s with engine that blew apart should be grounded

Video showed the engine fully engulfed in flames as the plane flew through the air.

Boeing 757 flying to Seattle makes emergency landing

The 16-year-old jetliner was powered by Pratt & Whitney engines.

A portion of the site of the proposed Lake Stevens Costco at the intersection of Highway 9 (right) and South Lake Stevens Road (below, out of view). (Chuck Taylor / Herald file)
Legal battle stalls Costco’s planned store in Lake Stevens

“We intend to keep them in court until they get tired of us and go away,” an opponent of the project said.

FILE - In this Jan. 25, 2020, file photo a Boeing 777X airplane takes off on its first flight with the Olympic Mountains in the background at Paine Field in Everett, Wash. Boeing is reporting another huge loss, this one because of a setback to its 777X widebody jetliner. Boeing said Wednesday, Jan. 27, 2021, it lost $8.4 billion in the fourth quarter on weaker demand for planes during the pandemic. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File)
Boeing says 2 directors are leaving as board faces scrutiny

Arthur Collins Jr. and Susan Schwab won’t stand for reelection at the shareholder meeting in April.

Thursday afternoon at Pallet in Everett on January 21, 2020. (Kevin Clark/The Herald)
Everett pallet shelter plan moves forward, with key caveat

The makeshift village could be on Smith Avenue — but only if people are barred from loitering nearby.

Most Read