Brad Pistotnik Law
Abogado El Toro

How Does OSHA Injury Reporting Help Protect Truck Drivers?

How does OSHA injury reporting help protect truck drivers? What factors make truck driving a more dangerous profession than others? OSHA injury reporting requirements make it possible to determine which professions pose the greatest dangers to employees and what risks employees within each sector of the economy face on a regular basis. Factors that can increase the risk of injury or death include everything from driving in hazardous road conditions and carrying potentially lethal cargo, to driving without proper training or operating a defective rig.

In 2015, 745 truck drivers died on the job which was a slight decrease from the 761 who died in 2014. Truck drivers account for approximately 25% of all occupational fatalities and fatalities within the industry have risen 11.2% over the past five years. For these reasons, the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA), National Transportation Safety Bureau (NTSB), Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and other regulatory bodies are keeping close watch over the trucking industry. Their efforts lead to everything from the sanction of negligent employers to the introduction and adoption of new safety features and operational protocols that have the potential to reduce injuries and fatalities.

While approximately 78% of truck driver fatalities are caused by vehicular accidents, the remaining 22% are caused by everything from being crushed by heavy loads, getting pinned either underneath the vehicle or between loading docks, etc. Truck drivers also face significant risk of injuries that require time away from work. Nationwide, the industry ranks 6th of all occupations with roughly 5% of injuries requiring time off to recover. Of those who are injured, nearly 50% require 20 days or longer to recover. Among the most common injuries are musculoskeletal injuries caused by overexertion of muscles, nerves, tendons, etc.

OSHA reporting requirements allow workers to file complaints with the agency for safety violations that can, or have caused, injuries or fatalities to truck drivers. These provisions allow truck drivers to file confidential reports that identify the unnecessary risks they face and outline their employer's negligent actions that expose them to injury or harm. Whistleblower protections within everything from the Clean Air Act to Sarbanes-Oxley mean that employers cannot seek retaliatory actions against truck drivers who in good faith report unsafe working conditions to the agency.

OSHA injury reporting requirements require all employers under the jurisdiction of the agency to notify OSHA by phone or in person of fatalities within 8 hours. This includes fatalities caused by heart attacks. However, employers do not have to report fatalities that result from transportation accidents with the exception of those that occur in road construction zones. OSHA requires employers to report all inpatient hospitalizations, along with amputations within 24 hours of the incident. Finally, employers are required to report loss of eyesight within 24 hours of an incident. These reports help the agency identify potential OSHA safety violations and investigate employer's who may be negligently operating their fleet. These reports also make it possible for the agency to identify fatality and injury trends that can shed light on potential safety problems within the trucking industry that may require stricter enforcement and oversight of safety standards.

Brad Pistotnik Law can help clients navigate the applicable state and OSHA injury reporting requirements for injuries and fatalities that truck drivers suffer in Wichita, Salina, Garden City, Liberal, Dodge City, Hutchinson, Colby, Goodland, Hays, Wellington, Emporia, Chanute, Beloit, Winfield, Colby, Hays, Newton, McPherson, El Dorado, Arkansas City, Kansas City, Salina, Colby, Pittsburg, or elsewhere in Kansas, Oklahoma, Nebraska, Missouri, or Illinois. These injury reporting requirements ensure proper documentation of a workers injury claim and the appropriate response from the responsible regulatory bodies tasked with oversight of worker safety and workplace conditions in these states.

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