Work Related Injuries In Trucking
It is well known, the profession of truck driver is not easy. The long hours of driving, maintaining a sitting position, repetitive movements and the often questionable equipment/facilities make this job more prone to work related injuries in trucking. In addition, extracurricular activities such as pipe handling, as well as access to the cabin and the loading dock also contribute to many of the injuries.
The facts are harsh: about 15% of work-related deaths concern the trucking profession, one of the most dangerous professions to be employed. Truckers move little, a lot of them eat poorly, the obesity is epidemic to the point that many can not buckle up. One in four suffers from sleep apnea and half smoke.
According to official studies, truck drivers also suffer more pathologies of all the professional trades such as sprains or back pain; related to the loading and unloading of cargo. But if the unions care about the health of truck drivers, that does not stop them from worrying about a tightening of rules that would result in job losses.
When we talk about work related injuries in trucking, the first risk that comes to mind of everyone is an accident. While trucks are proportionately less often than other vehicles involved in injury accidents, they are more often fatal accidents. In terms of accidents, the overland transport sector is one of the least well off, with the construction and the temporary job sector. But accidents are not the only health risk associated with truck driving. Other physical or even chemical risks may affect their health. Organizational problems at work or poor health habits are more often found among professional truck drivers.
Some drivers also carry out manual handling of cargo during loading and unloading, and the tarp removal of tarpaulins. These factors may cause musculoskeletal back problems. Prolonged sitting may cause problems in the neck, shoulders or back, and digestive disorders (constipation and hemorrhoids). Noise exposure may also be important (truck traffic, road, loading and unloading, etc.). The opening of the window as well as the radio would be the 2 factors that increase the noise in the cabin.
The term sacroiliitis is an inflammation of the sacroiliac joints. The sacroiliac joint is composed of the sacrum, a triangular piece of bone at the back of the post and just above the coccyx and pelvic bones that are located on either side of the buttocks.
Sacroiliitis can cause the onset of buttocks pain. These pains, among other things, radiate to the back of the buttocks and can go down the leg. Sacroiliitis should not be confused with other conditions, including lower back pain.
You’ll understand that this injury is frequent in truck drivers because they maintain a sitting position for long distances and by adopting a poor driving posture. It can be aggravated by the use of a seat not suitable to the task. Similarly, wearing a wallet in the back pocket could in the mid and long term, cause problems in the sacroiliac joint.
This lesion of the hand is a condition affecting both hands and generally characterized by involuntary flexion of some fingers. The extension of the fingers becomes increasingly difficult. Retraction of the membrane covering the tendons causes a shortening of these tendons, and causes the fingers to bend towards the palm of the hand.
This lesion appears among drivers who have maintained hands on the wheel almost every day for many hours. We can compare these with carpal tunnel syndrome from the secretary who keeps the wrist in a certain way for hours.
Truck drivers could get injured not only by truck accidents but they’re also prone to suffering from upper extremity problems (neck, shoulders) as well as back pain because of the nature of the work. Sadly, because the job demands that truck drivers spend long stretches of their life on the road, a lot of injured truckers don’t get the professional medical attention they need.
Causes for frequent injuries consist of:
• Being required to raise and lower weighty truck hoods.
• The pulling of the fifth wheel pin.
• Slip and fall accidents while getting out from the vehicle and grasping that handle bar.
• Sleeping on one side when in a moving truck.
• Driving while having an elbow leaning on the window.
• Unloading the truck.
• Resting the hand on the gearshift lever while it constantly vibrates.
As these tasks are usually part of a truck driver’s work, for many truck drivers it’s just a matter of time before work related injuries in trucking will develop. These injuries could cause physical and psychological suffering while making it extremely hard for the injured truck driver to perform their job.
Truck drivers may also be vulnerable to experiencing lower back problems. Driving a truck may cause the entire body to feel vibrations for very long periods of time. All the heavy lifting and bending to pick up a shipment may also result in back pain. Driving for many hours, jumping down and into truck cabs may certainly lead to back injuries.
Another common trucker ailment is kidney injury. They repeatedly spend several hours absorbing roads vibrations. Support your body whenever driving or working with equipment – road holes and bumps and harsh surfaces transfer vibrations from the truck into the body, causing kidney bruising and injury. Incorporating a good quality seat support to the driver’s seat may decrease the vibrations the body will get.