A number of fleets are tackling one of the leading causes of driver injuries through information and education.
LTL carrier Yellow Freight reduced cab exit injuries more than 50% in the past year, partly by having supervisors ride herd on drivers who were making a habit of jumping from cabs instead of using the recommended three-point system, according the Wall Street Journal.
ABF Freight, another LTL carrier, tells drivers to keep hands free by leaving logbooks on the seat when they exit.
A recent study by Liberty Mutual Insurance Co. was the first to quantify the impact forces generated when a driver leaps or falls from a cab. The study showed drivers put as much as 12 times their body weight on their ankles, knees and lower back when they jump from a cab or the rear of a trailer. By using the three-point method for exiting (three limbs are in contact with the vehicle at all times) impact was reduced by 80%.
Injuries around the truck are a significant part of many fleets' safety costs. A Bureau of Motor Carrier Safety study of 46 large fleets indicated falls from vehicles accounted for 14% of all personal injuries to drivers, 10% of all workers compensation losses, and 11% of all medical costs. A review of Liberty Mutual's workers compensation claims for a four-year period showed the average cost of a vehicle fall was around 24% higher than for other injury types.
Liberty Mutual says fleets can reduce the risk of injuries by taking time to address unsafe exiting from trucks and by making sure vehicles were fitted with suitable steps and handles to allow a safe exit.
For more information, call Liberty Mutual's research center at (508) 435-9061, ext. 310.