According to the American Trucking Association, the number of commercial truck operators nationwide exceeds 3.5 million. Many of them are based in Florida but haul cargo all over the country. Along with road accident risks, they face an endless list of work-related hazards, some of which are related to the type of cargo they haul, and others involve the effect of hours behind the wheel on their bodies.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the trucking industry has more work-related fatalities than most other employment fields. The 2012 statistics show that 756 truck operators died, and more than 65,000 lost workdays due to on-the-job injuries. The numbers represent all truck types, including delivery truck drivers. Only 14% of reported injuries and deaths resulted from transportation incidents like accidents.
The highest number of injuries, 35%, were caused by overexertion, followed by slips, trips and falls at 30%. Struck-by and crushed-by equipment or objects were number three on the list, making up 17% of all reported injuries and fatalities.
Two of the most significant factors that affect trucker safety are the lack of exercise and healthy meals. Fatigue due to long hours spent driving is another hazard that could have devastating consequences.
Although truck drivers who are employed rather than independent contractors are typically eligible for workers’ compensation benefits, the claims process could be complicated if they are injured in other states. Along with the typical work-related hazards they face, truck operators could also suffer injuries caused by third-parties. Fortunately, they could leave the navigation of benefits claims in the hands of an experienced Florida workers’ compensation attorney. Legal counsel can also take the necessary steps to file a personal injury claim if a third-party caused the truck driver’s injuries.