Truck Accident Injuries

Did you know that trucking industry has some of the highest workers’ compensation claim rates?  For example, in Washington State claims are so high that they have an initiative for preventing on the job injury and promoting safety, called the TIRES Initiative.

According to Knestaut, A. Compensation and Working Conditions, (1997, Fall)., truck drivers had more nonfatal injuries (over 151,000) than workers in any other occupation in 1995.  Half 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.

Of all truck accident injuries, strains and sprains make up 50% of injuries.  Work-related strains and sprains are injuries to muscles, tendons and nerves that are referred to by doctors and researchers as musculoskeletal disorders or MSDs.  Strains and sprains can have many causes and each additional risk factor increases the likelihood of truck accident injuries. Risk factors for muscles, tendons and nerves include:

  • Overexertion
  • wrist-pain-5-14114981Contact with or being struck by an object
  • Falling
  • Transportation accidents
  • Blind spot trucking accidents
  • Repetitive use without adequate rest
  • Lifting heavy or awkward objects or boxes
  • Awkward postures such as reaching overhead for long periods of time
  • Gripping something tightly

Work-related strains and sprains include:

  • Back pain
  • Shoulder pain
  • Muscle strain
  • Tendonitis
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS)
  • Tennis elbow (epicondylitis)

Other common trucker injuries include bruises, fractures, cuts and lacerations, soreness and pain, and multiple traumatic injuries.

Of all these, 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

Costs

Work-related strains and sprains are the most costly and most frequent injuries in the trucking industry.

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.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWorkers’ 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 strains and sprains also increase the cost of hiring and training, increase turnover and decrease productivity. Sometimes workers are unable to return to their full wage jobs after such an injury or require extensive life-altering surgeries or treatments to recover

Trucking Industry has Highest Workers’ Compensation Claim Rates in Washington State

Injury rates in trucking are far above the state average for all other industries combined.  The trucking industry has some of the highest workers’ compensation claim rates and costs in Washington State.  Claims are so high that they have an initiative for preventing on the job injury, called the TIRES Initiative.

Each year, one in every 13 truck drivers in the state of Washington has a work-related injury serious enough that they have to miss work for a period of time.

The TIRES research team is working with industry leaders, safety and health professionals, employers, drivers, warehouse and dock workers, and many others to develop educational materials that identify hazards and provide low-cost, simple solutions to prevent injuries in the trucking industry.

Click here for more info:

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Equip truck drivers and operators with the proper tools needed to help them avoid injury.

The OPNBar 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.