Most Americans naturally consider some jobs to be hazardous. For example, we recognize that police officers face daily risks. Many cringe at the vocational dangers faced by workers who calmly scale tall radio towers or make nimble moves on steel girders suspended high in the sky.
We don’t think too much about the risks associated with driving a truck; yet, according to statistics released by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), “piloting” an eighteen-wheeler down a New Jersey highway can be extremely dangerous. The DOL notes that, across the nation, deaths and injuries associated with driving a truck are on the rise. In any given year, truck drivers are more than three times as likely to sustain an injury or suffer illness that requires lost time from work than the typical American worker.
Truckers’ Injuries Don’t Just Happen on the Highway
Health care experts observe that most injuries related to truck driving don’t actually involve a collision; they arise from the strenuous physical activity that is required of most tractor-trailer drivers. The DOL observes that among all occupations, truck drivers rank third highest when it comes to musculoskeletal disorders (injuries or disorders of the muscles, nerves, tendons, joints, cartilage, or spinal discs) producing lost time from work during 2014. Truckers are particularly susceptible to WEAR and TEAR™ injuries caused by repeatedly getting in and out of the truck, by loading and unloading freight, and by prolonged sitting in the vehicle’s cab.
Ergonomic Improvements Can Help Prevent Injuries
While some trucking employers are reluctant to spend money on “creature comforts” for drivers, that attitude is generally short sighted, since improving the ergonomic features in and around a driver’s cab can help prevent driver injuries down the road. For example, in one study sponsored by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, improving handle design on the exterior of truck cabs resulted in a reduction in egress injuries.
Designing Truck Cabs for Drivers, Not the General Public
When it comes to ergonomics, truck manufacturers and employers are beginning to notice that the typical trucker doesn’t resemble the average American adult. For example, in one study, researchers noted that male truck drivers are significantly shorter and heavier than the general U.S. population. The study also noted that, compared to 30 years ago, drivers are larger abdominally and in hip breadth. Seats designed years ago are no longer adequate. Among other things, this study suggests that recent increase in obesity among those in the American workforce is even more pronounced among those who drive America’s trucks.
Get Expert Legal Help if You Have Suffered a WEAR and TEAR™ Injury
Are you a truck driver or other New Jersey worker who has sustained a work-related injury? Have you sustained a work-related accident? Do you have chronic pain issues? Has an insurance agent discouraged you from filing a claim by telling you that New Jersey provides no benefits for preexisting conditions or progressive, WEAR and TEAR™ injuries? You may be entitled to recover in spite of the insurance company’s decision. Recognize that recovery will likely require the assistance of a skilled, experienced workers’ compensation attorney. Remember also that the passage of time can be fatal to your claim.
At Petro Cohen Petro Matarazzo, we have helped many hard-working folks just like you. Call or contact us for a free consultation. Talk to an experienced lawyer who can help you sort out your rights. We can be reached by phone at 888-675-7607, or you can complete our online form. We look forward to discussing your situation with you.