Dangerous jobs come in a variety of shapes and sizes, and some that you may not expect. The jobs that are commonly considered hazardous, like firefighting, police work and power line work, present some obvious challenges that could put workers in direct danger. However, the Bureau of Labor Statistics has some surprising news on the topic that points to a less obvious occupation: Tractor-Trailer drivers. Statistics show that in 2014 alone, 761 drivers lost their lives on the job; and the disturbing trend has been steadily increasing in recent years.
The numbers don’t lie; tractor-trailer drivers also have the highest number of work related injuries that eventually require them to take time off work. These injuries are frequently, but not limited to, traffic accidents, slip and falls and musculoskeletal strains caused by lifting. In fact, out of 20 cases nationwide in which a worker needed to take off because of an injury, a tractor-trailer driver or heavy truck driver accounted for one of those cases.
In addition to the dangers of traffic accidents, truck drivers are faced with the occupational hazard of sitting for long periods of time, which can create another set of occupational hazards. Some common prolonged use injuries include: slipped or compressed spinal discs, nerve damage, Sciatic pain and muscle strains. These injuries are enough to require drivers to take more than a month off to recover.
Employers can’t micro-manage enough to keep their drivers safe on the road at all times, but there are a few steps that trucking companies can take to help prevent accidents and prolonged use injuries. They may consider taking extra steps to educate their drivers about safe driving practices, driving drowsy and dealing with hazardous driving conditions. It may also benefit the employer to create a health initiative that would encourage their drivers to exercise and take breaks when needed to stretch and mobilize.
Work related injuries can still happen, but every bit the employer can do to avoid employee injuries counts towards them. The cost of every employee hurt on the job or that is unable to work, far outweighs the cost of additional policies and training to prevent these mishaps, or worse, fatalities.
To learn more about the issues concerning workplace injuries, visit the DOL website. If you have questions about managing occupational hazards or other employment-related matters, please contact Danz & Kronengold, P.L. at www.danzlaw.net.