Driving a truck can become a hazardous endeavor, not just because of possible accidents on the road but also because of other risks of injury drivers face during the normal course of their day. Truck drivers face the risk of injury even doing the most normal tasks like getting onto the vehicle, putting on safety gear, walking around, or climbing in or jumping out of a trailer. These types of injuries are wildly overlooked and often the risk of injury is not taken seriously. But when you think about it, they can cause just as many delays and costs as other types of accidents. In some cases, an injury on the job could jeopardize your career if the injury is serious enough.
It’s essential for fleet owners and truck drivers to consider hazardous situations, even those that don’t appear to be dangerous, to maintain a safer environment. Most accidents and injuries can be prevented by being alert and aware of your situation and conditions.
7 tips for truck driver injury prevention
Here are five simple tips to lower the risk of injuries:
1. Proper rest
One of the most important things to consider when avoiding accidents is the truck driver’s condition. Ensuring the driver has the appropriate time to rest is crucial since, depending on this, they will likely be clearer-headed and make better decisions. A not well-rested driver or one with a very tight work schedule that causes high-stress levels is more likely to be distracted and not aware of his surroundings. These factors greatly contribute to the risk of an accident or injury.
A clear view of a driver’s HOS is essential since it’ll ensure drivers are resting correctly according to their workload.
2. Always apply the three points of contact rule
A professional driver is always on the go. We are all guilty of rushing and the professional driver is no different when there is a time crunch to get a load delivered or to get home. On any given day a driver may enter and exit their tractor a minimum of 5 times a day. That means if proper care is not exercised there is a high likeliness of a slip and fall injury. Even in a rush applying some simple safety rules that will take you a couple of seconds can easily avoid injuries when entering or exiting your truck or trailer.
3. Always use 3 points of contact when getting in and out of your truck or trailer.
Three points of contact mean either two hands and one foot, or two feet holding on with one hand. When exiting the truck or trailer always do so with your back to the exit, never jump out facing forward. Also, consider that the height of most trailers makes it difficult for even the fittest individuals to enter and exit without a step stool or leverage from within the trailer. We also urge even more caution in doing this mundane action when there is precipitation such as rain or snow that makes the steps and rails of the trailer slick.
4. Properly maintained vehicles
In many cases, drivers are careful as they’re climbing onto their vehicles, but the vehicle itself is not in the suitable condition to be driven. For example, if the steps to climb in are loose or cracked, the driver may fall and sustain an injury. To ensure this doesn’t happen, fleet owners must ensure periodic inspections of the vehicle to take care of the possible risks, and truck drivers must report these conditions as soon as they detect them.
5. Always use your PPEs
Make sure to have your personal protection equipment at hand. These will protect you in case of any incident and will help you avoid a more serious accident.
- Proper footwear
- Hard hat
- Reflective safety vest
- Safety glasses
6. Correct seating position
Posture is essential in avoiding work-related injuries. It’s as simple as being conscious of your body position and how it affects your health. Body posture is usually affected by how tired a person is; therefore, it’s essential to be well-rested and make sure to have various breaks to stand up, walk around, and stretch your body.
Adjusting your seat to make sure you are at the right angle is also a must. Make sure to move your chair around so you can be in a comfortable and ergonomic position, one that keeps your back straight and your arms slightly bent instead of stretched to the steering wheel.
7. Wearing proper shoes
Another simple way to avoid injuries is wearing the proper shoes to work. Depending on the weather conditions, you may choose to wear different types of shoes like boots. If it’s raining or snowing, having the correct shoes will allow you to avoid slipping or falling. Always avoid open-toed shoes and boots with slick soles. The right footwear is only half of the equation; drivers must be aware of the conditions and watch their steps.
8. Be aware of surroundings
A driver will encounter many different places on any given day. Being aware of your surroundings will help you identify hazards and avoid accidents. Is the ground slick from ice or rain or uneven? Is there a step up or down to enter a facility? Do you have enough clearance to stand up and move around without hitting your head? Do other vehicles have good visibility to your position? Wearing PPE (personal protection equipment) is important in situations and places that have known hazards. Being aware of your surroundings and identifying hazards early can help you avoid slips and falls as well as other injuries to your head and body.
A slip and fall sounds like a minor injury however in a professional driving career it only takes one bad accident to cause temporary or permanent disability. Being aware of your surroundings and maintaining higher alertness allows drivers to make better decisions, contributing to a safer work environment. Being safe will avoid any accidents, delays, and can help reduce other costs and expenses.