How to Prevent Common Trucking Injuries

Truck driving is one of the most dangerous jobs in the country. Avoid common trucking injuries with these tips.

Commercial truck driving is one of the most dangerous private sector occupations in the country year after year according to data compiled by the Bureau of Labor Statistics between 1992 and 2017. In 2017 there were 47,860 nonfatal injuries or work-related illnesses resulting in time away from work, which is the second-highest of any occupation included in the data. When it came to fatal accidents, truck driving landed in first place with 840 fatalities.  While the data may be upsetting, it does help us to understand what injuries truckers are more prone to, and how we can reduce or prevent these injuries from occurring.

Out on the road, there are fewer opportunities for exercise, healthy food choices are sparse and the work itself comes with long hours and heavy freight. These factors all contribute to an increased potential for on-the-job injuries. The vast majority of trucking-related injuries occur in incidents not related to or stemming from a traffic accident. Some of the most common injuries seen in the trucking world are sprains and strains.  Injuries from slips and falls and general overexertion are also common. These injuries often occur when entering or exiting a truck or trailer, hooking or unhooking trailers, or unloading freight. These are all things that almost every commercial driver is exposed to on a regular basis.   Here are a few tips to avoid injury while completing these common tasks:


Entering and Exiting the Tractor 

  • Use three points of contact at all times and never move before your contact points are set.
  • Always face the cab or equipment when entering or exiting the tractor.
  • Never attempt to enter or exit the cab with items in your hands.
  • Only use proper points of contact; wheel hubs and door handles are not an acceptable substitute for running boards or grab-bars.

Hooking and Unhooking the Trailer

  • It is best to stand parallel to the trailer when cranking the landing gear up as this allows for easier rotation of the crank and places less stress on the body.
  • It is best to stand perpendicular to the trailer when lowering landing gear. Facing the trailer during this process allows for the most control on the crank and allows the driver to step directly back and away from the trailer in the event of a mechanical failure.

Unloading Freight

  • Always check for any unsecured items or broken pallets before unloading.
  • Restrict foot traffic for any unnecessary personnel during unloading.
  • Ensure pallet jacks, hand trucks, load bars or straps, and any other support tools are in proper working order before use—and use them.

Truck driving is a heavy labor occupation. Many risks are part and parcel of the job, but that doesn’t mean that we cannot do our part to reduce these common injuries and accidents. Remember that safety on the lot is just as important as safety on the road.


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