Big rig drivers in Texas face many hazards both on and off the road. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, more workers lose their lives in work-related accidents or illnesses in the transport industry than in any other line of work. Many of the deaths among truckers were not road accident-related.
Reportedly, operators of tractor trailers and drivers of delivery vehicles face similar safety hazards. These percentages show that road accidents are the least frequent cause of death or injuries that kept truckers away from work:
- Fatigue, bodily reaction and overexertion — 35%
- Slip, trip and fall accidents — 30%
- Struck-by and other contact injuries — 17%
- Transportation-related injuries — 14%
Other negligent truckers and weather conditions are hazards over which truck operators have no control. However, drivers can mitigate many other dangers. Truck drivers often suffer injuries during loading and unloading cargo because they are not in good physical health. Without warming up and stretching after hours behind the wheel, manual handling of freight could cause musculoskeletal injuries.
Checking the walking surface conditions before exiting the cab can reduce slip, trip and fall risks. Wearing non-slip shoes that provide ankle support can also mitigate slip hazards. Also, if shoes have steel tips, it could prevent foot injuries caused by dropped objects. Industrial-type gloves can prevent pinch injuries.
Many of the deaths and severe injuries suffered by big-rig operators occur when other vehicles strike drivers due to a lack of dedicated loading bays. Wearing reflective clothing can make them more visible.
Injured truck operators in Texas may be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. However, claiming benefits after suffering an injury during a trip across state lines could complicate the process. When a third party causes the injuries, the driver could have grounds to file a civil lawsuit as well as a workers’ compensation insurance claim.