What dangers do truck drivers face when they step foot outside the cab of their truck? How many truck drivers are injured while they are not driving their commercial motor vehicle? While approximately 81% of truck driver injuries and fatalities are the result of transportation accidents, the remaining 19% stem from a wide variety of causes including slips and falls, electrocution, workplace violence, armed robbery, etc. With nearly one in five fatalities or injuries occurring outside the cab of the truck there are plenty of dangers that drivers face when they park their commercial motor vehicle.
Of truck driver fatalities reported in 2012, 56, or 8% of truck drivers who died did so as the result of contact with objects or equipment. Examples include being struck by another vehicle while walking across parking lots, electrocution, or becoming trapped under garage doors. 28, or 4% of the total number of fatalities were the result of slip and fall accidents, and 9, or 1% were the result of homicide.
The loading dock is one of the most dangerous places for truck drivers and there are no shortage of ways drivers can be injured or killed while navigating them on foot. Drivers often trip or slip on wet or broken surfaces. These types of accidents account for approximately 8% of workers' compensation claims within the industry. Truck drivers can also suffer injuries in falls from the edges of the loading dock. From 1997 to 2005, 10% of injury claims were the result of falls from height and it is estimated that one out of every 150 truck drivers experiences a fall from elevation that results in time away from work.
Drivers can also suffer toxic exposures from inhaling carbon monoxide from exhaust, suffer crushing injuries caused by careless forklift operators, or even be rolled over by their own vehicle if the brakes or wheel chocks fail. To protect drivers, OSHA strictly regulates the design and maintenance of loading docks. Among the regulations facility operators are required to follow are requirements to install guardrails, non-slip flooring, clearly mark the edges of the loading dock, keep the area free of obstructions, and ensure that all "pinch points" are properly marked and protected to reduce the possibility of crushing injuries.
Overexertion injuries are a leading cause of time away from work in the trucking industry. From 1997 to 2005, these injuries were responsible for 41% of all workers' compensation claims and 1.7 million lost days of work. These injuries can occur while loading/unloading cargo, coupling or uncoupling trailers, repairing the vehicle, or cleaning the vehicle. Musculoskeletal disorders account for approximately 30% of all truck driver work injury claims and can cause persistent pain and diminish the individual's ability to continue in the profession.
Drivers are also at considerable risk of being struck by objects or pinned between walls, garage doors, or vehicles. Approximately 12% of claims are from these types of injuries. These can occur when loading docks or parking lots are not properly marked and cleared, when loading dock personnel negligently operate machinery including forklifts, or when gears and other machinery responsible for regulating doors are not properly maintained and fail during operation.
We routinely have clients who have been working as a pedestrian and who then are ran down by a negligent driver for some other company. In this type of case, depending upon control of the job site, the usual course is that the injured worker has a right to workers' compensation and may be able to bring a third party claim against the company and driver who ran over the injured victim.
Brad Pistotnik Law is a workplace safety law firm with attorneys, lawyers and abogados who represent truck drivers and others who are injured in accidents involving vehicles in loading docks, parking lots, and construction sites in Kansas City, Hays, Topeka, Wichita, and other cities in Kansas, Nebraska, Illinois, Missouri, and Oklahoma. It does not matter if you were injured in Garden City, Kansas, Dodge City, Emporia, Topeka, Enid, Guymon, Oklahoma City, Lincoln, Omaha, Kearney, Tulsa, Ponca City, St. Louis, Chicago, Springfield, Columbia, St.Jo, or other cities and states, the attorneys at Brad Pisttotnik Law can help you.
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