Report: Trucking Hazards, Injuries High in Washington State

A new report from the Washington Department of Labor & Industries reveals that truck drivers experience some of the highest rates of workplace injuries in the state. Covering the years 1997-2005, Preventing Injuries in the Trucking Industry Focus Report concludes that the state's trucking industry logs $265 million in claims each year for musculoskeletal disorders, which include injuries to muscles, tendons, and joints. Vehicle-collision injuries also are expensive for the industry, averaging $46,500 per claim, though these injuries occur far less frequently than musculoskeletal disorders, according to the report.

"Injury rates in trucking are far above the state average for all industries combined," said Barbara Silverstein, research director for Safety and Health Assessment and Research for Prevention (SHARP), the L&I program that produced the report. "Given the importance of trucking to our economy, everyone in the industry needs to be working to prevent workplace injuries."

Highlights from the report:

  • The trucking industry accounts for 10 percent of Washington state's work-related fatalities. There were 63 fatalities among trucking industry employees between 1998 and 2005.
  • Among Washington's truck drivers, one in 13 is seriously injured on the job each year, resulting in a worker's compensation claim for lost work time, as well as medical costs.
  • From 1997 to 2005, there were more than 21,000 claims for lost work time and almost 38,000 medical-only claims in the state's trucking industry.

The report includes information to help employers reduce common workplace hazards. To view the document, visit www.lni.wa.gov/Safety/Research/Files/Trucking/PreventingTruckingInjuries.pdf. To view companion tip sheets, posters, and other educational materials, visit www.lni.wa.gov/Safety/Research/Trucking/Default.asp.

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