Rosengren Law Office, LLC

Road accidents are not the only risks truckers face

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of fatalities and injuries among truckers shows that instead of becoming safer, this industry is now more deadly than before. In 2017, deaths among truckers were almost double the number of fatalities among truckers in 2012. Furthermore, about 65,000 truck drivers suffered work-related injuries or illnesses that caused lost workdays in 2012 -- most of which were preventable.

The International Labour Organization defines truckers as employees who operate trucks with capacities exceeding three tons to transport cargo between specified destinations. If you are a truck driver in Minnesota, your duties might include vehicle maintenance.

Physical safety hazards

Other than accident injuries, truckers risk the following physical hazards:

  • Fatigue and impaired musculoskeletal functions can result from whole-body vibrations while driving, and long periods of sitting in uncomfortable positions can cause low back pain.
  • You can suffer severe headaches and ultimate hearing loss after years of driving trucks due to constant exposure to excessive noise that exceeds 80dBA.
  • Radiation exposure from ultraviolet rays of the sun can cause skin cancer, even through your truck's windows.

Accident risks

Although you will always face risks of road accidents, other accident risks include the following:

  • Physical overexertion can cause physical trauma if you have to move heavy cargo.
  • Leaking or spilling flammable substances cause fire risks in the event of accidents and/or mechanical failures in tank-trucks.
  • You can suffer carbon monoxide poisoning from inhalation of exhaust gases, and long-term exposure can lead to chronic health problems.
  • Long-distance hauls and long hours behind the wheel increase your risks of fatigue, which, in turn, increase the chances of road accidents.
  • If your cargo loads contain toxic substances, explosives and other hazardous cargo, you will risk chemical burns, explosions and acute intoxication caused by the fumes. Contact with chemicals can cause skin diseases.
  • Crush dangers exist if you have to disengage the truck and trailer from each other.
  • Getting in and out of the trailer and the cab of your truck pose slip, trip and fall hazards.

Psychosocial Hazards

The risk of violence will always be present, especially when the cargo is valuable, and rest stops might also pose physical violence hazards. Furthermore, you will likely experience feelings of isolation and stress about your loved ones during long absences from home.

Who will have your back?

Although the Minnesota workers' compensation provides benefits for victims of work-related injuries and illnesses, your job might take you across state lines as you haul your cargo nationwide. Claiming benefits could be a daunting task if you suffer injuries in another state. This is where the skills of an experienced workers' compensation attorney can be invaluable. Legal counsel can explain your rights and advocate for you throughout ensuing proceedings in pursuit of maximum compensation under applicable Minnesota laws.

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