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Nov 02, 2017 • Community

Truck Driver Injury Prevention

Truck Driver Injury Prevention

Driving a heavy-duty truck is one of the most dangerous jobs in America. Take a look at these truck driver injury prevention tips to stay safe on the road.

Truck Driver Injury Prevention

The trucking industry is a profession with one of the highest workers’ compensation claim rates. The profession itself requires long hours of driving, poor diets, and little exercise, making truck drivers prone to injuries. These truck driver injury prevention tips can help limit drivers at risk. 

In America, Washington State alone, workers’ compensation claims are so high that there is an initiative for preventing on the job injuries for truck drivers.  It is referred to as the TIRES Initiative.

Each year, 1-out-of-13 truck drivers in Washington state has a work-related injury serious enough that they have to miss work for a long period of time, on an average of 184 days.

Truck drivers had more nonfatal injuries (over 151,000) than workers in any other occupation in 1995. 50 percent of the nonfatal truck accident injuries were serious sprains and strains; this may be attributed to the fact that many truck drivers must unload the goods they transport. (Source: According to Knestaut, A. Compensation, and Working Conditions, 1997, Fall)

Long hours of driving, poor diets and little exercise make drivers prone to work-related strains and sprains with injuries to muscles, tendons, nerves and other musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs). 

Injuries are often due to:

  • Overexertion
  • Being struck by an object
  • Falling
  • Transportation accidents
  • Repetitive use of body
  • Lifting heavy boxes and cargo
  • Awkward postures such as reaching overhead
  • Gripping tightly or improperly

Work-related strains and sprains make up 50% of injuries are the most costly and most frequent injuries in the trucking industry. Sprains, strains and overexertion make up for the most trucking-related injuries.

Studies show that costs exceed $107 million and resulting in 576,000 lost-work days per year. About 70 percent of these injuries were to truck drivers. Many of the injuries occurred when opening shipping container doors or connecting or disconnecting a trailer to the truck.

Strains and sprains can include:

  • Back pain
  • Shoulder pain
  • Muscle strain
  • Tendonitis
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS)
  • Tennis elbow (epicondylitis)
  • Other common injuries include bruises, fractures, cuts and lacerations, soreness and pain, and multiple traumatic injuries.

The most common situations where truck accident injuries occur include:

  • Vehicle accidents
  • Carpal tunnel injury
  • Strained wrists from opening hard to open containers
  • Strains and back injuries from lifting and moving items or releasing 5th wheel to remove tractor from trailer
  • Slip and falls climbing in or out of the cap or trailer
  • Accidents while loading or unloading trailer
  • Slip and falls on docks
  • Crush injuries where part of load falls on driver

Workers’ Compensation Costs

  • 41% of compensable claims are the result of strains and sprains to the neck, back and upper extremity (shoulders, elbows, hands/wrists)
  • The average cost for a claim is over $26,000
  • Average of 184 time-loss days Compared to other industries

Couriers have almost four times the rate of work-related strains and sprains claims of all industries combined. Waste Collection has three and a half times the rate and General Freight trucking is close with almost two and a half times the rate of work-related strains and sprains of all other industries combined.

Additional Costs

Work-related time off also increases the cost of hiring and training, increasing turnover and decreasing productivity. Sometimes workers are unable to return to their full wage jobs after an injury or require extensive life-altering surgeries or treatments to recover.

Take Steps to equip truck drivers and operators with the proper tools needed to help them avoid injury.

To help offset these unwanted expenses we introduce OPNBar, a 3 in 1 shipping container safety leverage tool, tire beater/thumper, and 5th wheel release handle/hook. Our product was originally designed for opening and closing truck trailers and shipping container doors with the safety for the operator foremost in mind. The OPNBar trucker tool, for instance, can help avoid some injuries by providing an ergonomic means of opening shipping containers, checking for low pressure tires, and aiding operators in releasing the tractor from the trailer.

Educate truckers, equip them with the right tools, and teach them good health habits to keep them safe and healthy.  These simple precautions can help companies avoid unexpected fees and missed work days.