Commercial drivers and long-haul truckers spend much of their time behind the wheel of large commercial vehicles. That might lead you to assume that their primary risk for injury while on the job would be a collision. While crashes can and do occur that leave truck drivers with serious injuries, that is far from the only risk that a commercial driver faces as part of their career path.
Quite a few drivers get hurt because of the physical demands of their job, including gripping the wheel for long hours, sitting uncomfortably or even performing manual labor while loading and unloading the truck’s contents. Truck drivers are at significant risk for injury to the arms, shoulders, neck and back as a result of the secondary work they do as part of their job.
Loading and unloading tasks create substantial risk for drivers
When looking at the total reported injuries among truck drivers, injuries to arms, neck or back represent almost half of the musculoskeletal injuries. Arms were the injured body part in 26.3% of cases, while the neck or back got hurt in 21.1% of the reported injuries.
These injuries often result from the work truckers perform while loading or unloading their cargo. Such tasks can create the risk for overexertion injuries to the arms, legs and back. Falls are another source of injury, cited in 38.9% of cases, while contact with other objects, like machinery, was responsible for 33.7% of reported injuries. Many of these injured workers will wind up requiring time off of work, as well as medical intervention.
Workers’ compensation protects injured truck drivers
Commercial drivers often fall into two different categories. Some are self-employed and work as independent contractors. These drivers may find themselves limited in their options for compensation after getting hurt on the job unless they participate in workers’ compensation programs or carry special short-term disability insurance.
For those who are employees of a trucking company or a business that provides its own delivery services, a workers’ compensation claim may be necessary following an injury related to loading and unloading. Workers’ compensation can provide 100% coverage for necessary medical care, as well as either short-term or long-term disability benefits that will replace a portion of the driver’s average weekly wages while they recover.