Commercial transportation has long been an industry with more demand for skilled work than workers able to provide services. Companies often compete to recruit and retain the best talent.
With the ever-increasing demand for commercial transportation services comes more miles logged by commercial drivers. It seems almost self-explanatory that more time at the wheel will lead to more injuries for commercial drivers.
Has the recent boom in transportation needs increased work risks faced by commercial drivers?
Companies may hire more quickly and demand more work
Those entering the commercial transportation world and established commercial drivers could have increased injury risks because of the high level of current ground transportation demands. The more time at the wheel and miles traveled, the greater the risk of injury on the job. With high demands comes more serious risks.
New drivers are at particularly high risk. Skill and experience help protect commercial drivers from collisions. Newer truckers straight out of their educational programs may not have the hands-on experience necessary to respond appropriately when faced with major issues on the road.
Truckers with years of experience may have more demands for their time than hours to work. Companies pushing them to be more productive might lead to physical injuries on the job due to repetitive stress from gripping the wheel or injuries caused by loading and unloading.
Good policies at companies can help keep their staff safe
Commercial transportation companies have benefited from increased demand because they can charge a premium for the services they provide.
They have also benefited from the waiver of certain restrictions, like temporary exemption from Hours of Service rules in the last year. They may expect their most experienced drivers to put in more hours than usual, increasing the risk of a crash and the physical strain of long driving shifts.
While servicing clients is always a priority, the safety of their staff should also be a key consideration for how commercial transportation companies operate. Adequate training, safety equipment and considerate scheduling practices can go a long way toward reducing worker injury risks and fatigue.
Those working in transportation can pay the price when their employer doesn’t put their safety first. Truckers who do get hurt because of crashes or the physical demands of their job can potentially seek workers’ compensation benefits during recovery.