Commercial truck drivers in Illinois face numerous occupational risks, which may result in on-the-job injuries. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the injury and illness rate for light truck and delivery-service drivers is one of the highest of all occupations.
Trucking Industry Risks
A physically demanding job that often requires extended periods on the road, commercial motor vehicle drivers face numerous injury risks on the job. Truck drivers not only haul loads from one point to another, but they must also often load and unload cargo, deliver packages, and ensure their vehicles are safe for the road. Consequently, truckers may suffer injuries due to occupational hazards such as motor vehicle accidents, slips, and falls, getting struck by or against objects, and overexertion and repetitive stress.
Single- and multi-vehicle accidents involving commercial and delivery trucks are common and often result in serious injuries or death. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration reports that 56,422 large trucks were involved in injury accidents and 4,657 were involved in fatal collisions in 2017. Numerous factors may contribute to the occurrence of trucking accidents, including driver distraction, fatigue, drugs or alcohol, and speed.
Overexertion and Repetitive Stress
Commercial motor vehicle drivers commonly suffer musculoskeletal-related injuries caused by overexertion or repetitive stress. Sitting in the driver’s seat for extended periods, lifting heavy items, loading and unloading, and performing maintenance or repairs on their vehicles may cause truckers to suffer injuries such as sprains and strains, tendonitis, arthritis, and other musculoskeletal disorders of the back, neck, and arms. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, sprains and strains account for 50% of truck driver injuries.
Slips and Falls
Truck drivers face a significant risk of suffering injuries due to slips and falls, particularly during the winter months when their vehicles, the roads, and loading and unloading surfaces may be slick or slippery from the weather. For instance, commercial vehicle drivers may slip or fall in the course of entering or exiting their vehicles, making deliveries or putting on tire chains.
Struck By and Struck Against
When performing job duties inside or outside their vehicles, truck drivers may get struck by or against other objects. They may be hit by lift-gates, vehicle parts, winch bars, pallet jacks, boxes or cartons, or other such objects. These incidents can cause head injuries, fractures, or other harm.