Commercial truck drivers are responsible for ensuring that Georgia stores have all the merchandise sought by consumers. However, few people realize that the risks faced by big-rig drivers make their jobs one of the most dangerous occupations in the country. If you are a tractor-trailer operator, the long hours of sitting in the driver’s seat, lack of exercise, poor diet and other aspects will make you vulnerable to injuries and illness.
Although road accidents might seem the most significant hazard that your job as a commercial truck driver might pose, a substantial percentage of workers’ compensation claims involve sprains, strains and other musculoskeletal disorders. Safety authorities say about half of truckers’ nonfatal injuries likely involve their duties to unload the cargo they transport without help.
Typical truckers’ injuries
Your job as a driver includes extended hours of inactivity, followed by heavy-duty jobs like opening the doors of shipping containers, disconnecting or connecting the trailer, and unloading cargo. You will likely experience one or more of the following consequences:
- Muscle strain
- Shoulder pain
- Back pain
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Epicondylitis or tennis elbow
- Cuts and lacerations
Causes of injuries
If you are aware of the following reasons for common injuries in your occupation, you could take precautions to prevent them:
- Falling when climbing up or down the trailer or in and out of the cab
- Repetitive body movements
- Maintaining awkward body postures
- Lifting awkwardly shaped or heavy cargo or boxes
- Struck-by accidents
- Gripping improperly or tightly
- Transportation accidents
Situations that compromise your safety
Some of the injuries will develop over time; others can happen in an instant. The following are typical situations in which you could suffer injuries:
- Wrist strains from the forceful opening of containers
- Carpal tunnel injury from continuous vibration while holding the steering wheel
- Back injuries and muscle strains from moving and lifting cargo and separating the trailer from the tractor
- Loading or unloading accidents
- Injuries from falls or jumps from the cab or trailer
- Crush injuries from falling cargo
- Slip-and-fall accidents in loading docks
- Vehicle accidents
How will you cope with injuries?
Every hour you are unable to drive your truck will adversely affect your finances. Along with the income loss, the mounting medical bills that typically follow debilitating injuries can cause stress and anxiety. However, help is available through the Georgia workers’ compensation insurance program. An experienced attorney can explain your rights and assist with the navigation of benefits claims.
Furthermore, if an independent third party caused your injuries, you might have grounds to file a personal injury lawsuit. A lawyer can assist with the pursuit of additional damage recovery through the civil justice system.