The 5 Most Common Accidents in the Long-Haul Trucking Industry
(And How to Avoid Them)
Trucking is a dangerous business. Long-haul truck drivers are 12 times more likely to die on the job and three times more likely to have a work-related injury that requires time off than the general work population.
Most truckers worry about dying in a pile-up, but other types of accidents can take their toll as well.
As a follow up to our “The 7 Most Common Accidents In The Construction Industry (And How To Avoid Them)“, we will now take a look at “The 5 Most Common Accidents In The Long-Haul Trucking Industry” and how truckers can best avoid them.
1. Transition from Sitting to Moving: Musculoskeletal Injuries on the Rise
It is no secret that truck drivers sit for hours on end. But the transition from sitting to doing even moderate activity like wiping down the windshields or pumping gas can be a dangerous time for truckers.
A ‘Musculoskeletal Disorder’ (MSD) worker injury is when non-impact overexertion or bodily reaction affects nerves, tendons, muscles, or supporting body structure that happens over time.
According to OHS statistics for 2010, 66% of all truck driver injury claims were MSD-related.
The most common MSD claims involve overextending oneself while picking up or transporting boxes.
To protect workers from MSD injuries, management should have a commitment to the ergonomic process, according to the Occupational Health and Safety Administration. They should involve workers in the decision-making process.
Training should play a key role in reducing these occurrences. They should encourage early reporting of problems by their workers. Finally, they should implement solutions to control problems and evaluate progress.
2. Missteps: Causing Serious Injury – Falling from Elevation
1 out of 150 truck drivers will file a time off claim due to a fall from elevation each year, representing about 10 percent of the industry’s injuries each year.
One trucker recalled exiting his truck, slipping in some mud on his step, and falling. He caught himself on his hands and toes resulting in his right shoulder becoming dislocated.
Most of these accidents involve falling from the truck to the ground below. A much smaller fraction involves falling to a lower level, falling on stairs, and falling into openings.
The most common injuries are back, and knee sprains as a result of falling from the truck to the ground.
Safety and Health Magazine suggested these tips to prevent falling from an elevation:
- Use the “three-point rule:” Have at least one foot and two hands or two feet and one hand on the truck at all times.
- Always use the mounting handles and stepping surfaces when entering or exiting the vehicle.
- Use an employer-provided ladder to access the top of a load.
- Face the edge of the truck bed, so you know your clearance.
3. Trips and Falls – The Dangers of Falls on the Same Level
One driver recalled a time when he was putting chains on his truck’s tires and slipped on some ice, whereupon he fell on his side causing serious injury and requiring time off work.
This is not an isolated case. One in 170 truck drivers will lose work days because of a fall on the same level. This represents about nine percent of the total missed work days.
Back and knee sprains are the most common injuries from the falls on the same level category.
The National Institute of Health recommends that employers take multidimensional preventative actions including a review of organizational practices and policies, work environment, health management programming, and training.
They also advise companies to take into account whether their workforce is aging and whether this will have an impact on the number of falls from the same level they are likely to experience.
4. “Watch Out!” – Struck by or Against Injuries
One driver was hitching his loaded trailer to his truck when his truck rolled over him, causing serious injuries. Another was watching as a forklift operator loaded his trailer. Unfortunately, the operator was not careful and it ran into him.
Being struck by a large, moving object is a hazard in trucking. It is something that causes one out of 100 trucking company employees to take time off work each year.
According to WCF insurance, truckers should heed the following tips to minimize their chances of being injured by a moving vehicle:
- Always wear proper protective gear
- Don’t work under heavy machinery
- Inspect your tools to make sure proper guards are in place
- Maintain visual contact
- Wear visible vests
- Do not carry passengers unless there is a passenger seat
5. Vehicle-Related Injuries – The Truck Crash
The injury that every truck driver dreads is the “vehicle-related injury” or truck crash. Fortunately, this is the least common type of calamity on the list. Unfortunately, it still causes one in 200 drivers to take time off work each year.
Truck crashes can result from any number of causes including driver error, mechanical failure, or improper loading. Roughly nine percent of truck drivers’ worker’s compensation claims are due to vehicle-related injuries.
Drivers can decrease operator-related incidents by getting the proper amount of sleep, develop fatigue management skills, wearing their seat belts, maintaining awareness of the road around them, and not using electronic devices while in the cab.
Employers can ensure that fleets are properly maintained, and loads are stacked correctly. Training of drivers, mechanics, and loaders can go a long way toward reducing vehicle-related injuries.
One in 13 truck drivers has an on-the-job injury serious enough to merit taking time off work each year. It’s one of the most dangerous jobs in the world.
Drivers can reduce their vulnerability by being aware of what is likely to cause such accidents and taking reasonable measures to prevent them. After all, no one likes being hurt.
But fleets also have a role in providing the proper equipment, training, and procedures to ensure that injuries do not occur. In the company’s case, your bottom line is at stake.
TriTech Safety & Training Inc, located in Grande Prairie is in the best position to keep you up to date with the essential and important industry practices to prevent avoidable accidents with our knowledge of Safety. For more information go to https://tritechsafety.ca/courses/