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Truckers risk more than road accidents as they haul their cargo

| Jul 13, 2021 | Workers' Compensation |

Commercial vehicle operators in San Diego and across California put their lives on the line with every load they haul. Are you a trucker who spends many hours on the road, far from your loved ones? Then you will experience the physical and emotional toll of the job. As your duties involve far more than sitting behind the wheel, you and other truckers are vulnerable to various injuries, typically nonfatal but costly when considering medical bills and lost wages.

Typical trucker injuries

Driving, loading, unloading, inspecting, preparing and even repairing your vehicle could cause the following:

  • Sprains and strains
  • Lacerations and cuts
  • Pain, soreness and other ergonomic injuries
  • Various traumatic injuries

Road accidents

Navigating roads statewide and across the country in your massive truck with large blind spots is tough. Maneuvering it on all road conditions, in darkness and sunshine, rain, wind and other inclement weather like icy roads pose significant crash hazards. Further dangers include the following:

  • Fire hazards from leaking and spilling explosive or flammable substances in the event of an accident
  • Explosions, chemical burns and acute intoxication risks if your cargo is explosive or toxic.
  • Field repairs on your vehicle are likely a frequent occurrence, with various injuries the result.

Physical hazards

Long hours in the cab of your truck could have the following consequences:

  • Severe headaches from prolonged engine noise
  • Hearing loss if the noise in the cab exceeds 80 dBA
  • Radiation or ultraviolet exposure by the sun
  • Heatstroke or frostbite risks during exposure to extreme weather conditions
  • Impaired musculoskeletal functions and fatigue from whole-body vibrations

Biological and chemical hazards

Depending on your cargo load, these risks include:

  • Contamination or infections from hazardous biological cargo
  • Toxic substance exposure
  • Dermatitis and other skin disease risks when you haul chemicals
  • Carbon monoxide poisoning or chronic respiratory problems from exhaust fume exposure

Ergonomic hazards

Sitting in an uncomfortable position or awkward posture while driving for hours on end increases the risk of musculoskeletal disorders like lower back pain.

Eyestrain and visual discomfort are additional ergonomic hazards when you drive on poorly illuminated roads after sunset.

Psychosocial hazards

Violence is a life-threatening hazard that will increase when you haul valuable cargo. It is also a potential threat at truck stops. Added to all the known hazards are many unanticipated ones, and the isolation could exacerbate all this while you are absent from home and likely concerned about the welfare of your loved ones.

You might find comfort in knowing that the California workers’ compensation insurance program will cover your medical expenses and lost wages if your injuries prevent you from driving. However, when accidents or injuries occur across state lines, the benefits claims process could become complicated.

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