Commercial truck drivers are an integral part of the American economy. Without truckers, few of us would be able to enjoy the access to the wide variety of groceries and consumer goods that we currently take for granted.
Truck drivers regularly make a number of sacrifices in order to keep our economy moving. It is not rare for truckers to spend days at a time away from their friends and family. In addition, the nature of their job regularly subjects them to the risk of serious injury.
If you work in the trucking industry, it is important to be aware of the hazards you face and ways counteract them and stay safe on the job. Generally speaking, the biggest risks fall into three categories: traffic accidents, loading and unloading injuries and repetitive stress injuries.
Because of the strict regulations governing their profession, most truckers are actually safer drivers than the average person on the road. But, since their vehicles are so large, accidents involving commercial trucks usually end up inflicting much more damage.
Truckers can help minimize the risk of traffic accidents by staying alert and attentive behind the wheel. Truck drivers should avoid using cell phones or engaging in any other distracting behavior. In addition, truckers should stay well-rested and should avoid driving if they are feeling drowsy. Often, a short rest can make a big difference when it comes to safety.
Loading and Unloading Injuries
Carrying or lifting heavy objects has the potential to result in serious back injuries. Many truckers also become injured after dropping a heavy object or slipping/tripping while loading or unloading their truck.
Many of these injuries can be prevented by using the appropriate equipment and safety gear. Truckers should wear back braces, get assistance from others when needed and use mechanical aids to help lift heavy loads. Keeping loading docks and truck beds clean and dry can help mitigate against the risk of slip and fall accidents.
Repetitive Stress Injuries
Driving a large truck for long periods of time can take a significant physical toll. Many truck drivers experience neck and back pain from sitting for long periods of time or carpal tunnel syndrome and shoulder pain from steering their truck. Many people also experience injuries to the joints in their lower body as a result of jumping down from the truck cab.
Staying in good physical health, stretching and taking regular rest breaks can help prevent repetitive stress injuries. Truck drivers who start to feel persistent soreness would be wise to seek medical attention before the problem gets worse.
Workers’ Compensation Benefits for Truck Drivers
Truck drivers who experience work-related injuries may be eligible to receive worker’s compensation benefits. Worker’s compensation will pay for reasonable medical expenses and will provide wage replacement benefits to workers who must take time off in order to recover.
Because workers’ compensation is a “no-fault” system, truckers are eligible for benefits even if their own negligence or mistake played a role in causing the injury.
If you have been injured on the job, it is important to assert your rights and claim workers’ compensation benefits. If you encounter any difficulty in doing so – or if your benefits are cut off before you have recovered – it is advisable to consult with an experienced worker’s compensation attorney who can take action on your behalf.