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Report: Trucking Injury Rates, Costs Among Highest in Washington State

December 11, 2014

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Truck drivers have some of the highest rates of workplace injuries in Washington State, according to a new report from the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries.

The report, Trucking Industry: Examining Injuries for Prevention, includes information to help employers target the hazards their employees are most likely to encounter.

The new report covers the years 2006-through 2012 and breaks the data down into six different trucking sectors. Among its findings, each year, one in every 13 truck drivers in the state has a work-related injury serious enough that they have to miss work for a period of time.

Sprains, strains and overexertion accounted for the most trucking-related injuries in Washington State, with costs exceeding $107 million and resulting in 576,000 lost-work days. About 70% 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. Falls were also a leading cause of costly claims involving lost-work days.

"Injury rates in trucking are far above the state average for all other industries combined," said Caroline Smith, an epidemiologist for the department’s Safety and Health Assessment and Research for Prevention program, and the lead researcher on the study. "In an industry that continues to be plagued by a shortage of qualified drivers, it's vital that we keep the ones we have safe and working."

Key points from the report include:

  • There were 52 fatalities in Washington State among trucking industry employees between 2006 and 2012 and most of them were vehicle related, with all but one involving a man.
  • Among Washington state truck drivers, one in 13 was injured seriously enough that they were unable to work and were compensated for lost-work days, in addition to the costs of medical treatment.
  • There were 1.5 million lost-work days for all injuries in Washington's trucking industry during the report's time period.
  • For the 33,000 workers employed in the trucking industry each year in Washington State from 2006 through 2012, there were nearly 7,000 lost-work claims.

Despite increased regulations on hours of service and other monitoring, trucking continues to be one of the most hazardous industries in the country, according to the report.

The department said it continues to work with trucking industry leaders, safety and health professionals and drivers to identify workplace hazards and low-cost, simple solutions. They include:

  • An interactive tool helps drivers prepare for winter travel and remember to be safe when chaining up.
  • Workers can test their skill at preventing slips, trips and falls while wearing different kinds of shoes on a variety of surfaces.
  • Drivers can learn about health issues common to truck drivers, such as stress and sleep apnea, and get wellness tips on how to fit in exercise and healthy snacks when on the road.

The full report is available by logging on to KeepTruckingSafe.org

Comments

  1. 1. Big Yellower [ December 12, 2014 @ 07:24AM ]

    Ironically being from the evergreen state. UPS is the biggest offender for workplace injuries. And is one of the largest employers in the state.

  2. 2. Joseph E. Bollman [ May 05, 2015 @ 11:36PM ]

    I've been on 100% Total & Permanent Disability since a work-related injury to my cervical neck at C6-7, and C4-5 since 2002 to present, and was caused by a fall head first three feet inside a semi-trailer while working in trucking. The original trucking company tried their hardest to cover up this injury, but I literally fought my butt off to win my workers compensation claim in Washington State. I worked for this large 2.5 Billion Dollar Trucking Corporation from 1989 to 2001. Had two (2) cervical neck surgeries, and after the last one, I was unable to work again, after the neurosurgeon, and two IME doctors stated, "Due to my cervical spine medical condition, I was totally out of the workforce." Receiving 100% Total & Permanent Disability from Washington State Department of Labor & Industries, and the Department of Social Security Disability. I was harassed & retaliated against from this company, and was terminated literally after a total of 12 years and 9 months. In 2015, I'm now having more problems to my cervical neck at C2-3, and C3-4, and re-opening the L&I Claim for further evaluations tests, MRI & CT, and see what will take place next concerning my cervical spine condition? Really bad cervical neck pain with severe cervicogenic headaches each and everyday now. Safety with this company is a joke when it comes to worker's safety, and work-related injury on-the-job..... There is quite more to this story of injury, and safety, but I don't have the space to write it all. Can't believe these large corporations get away with what they get away with..... Hope this will help someone else out in the trucking field. Lookout and cover your own butt, because these large corporations are looking out for you!!!!! Thanks! Marine Corps & Vietnam Veteran 1968 to 1975.

  3. 3. Joseph E. Bollman [ May 05, 2015 @ 11:52PM ]

    Correction To The Above: Lookout and cover your own butt, because these large trucking corporations are not looking out for you!!!!!

 

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