Georgia workers deserve the best working conditions, and, for the most part, our state offers a host of protections for workers who are injured on the job. Georgia has a robust labor market with many warehouse and transportation industry jobs. While these jobs bring stability and strength to our economy, a report by the Bureau of Labor Statistics warns that transportation and warehousing rank highest among five key industries, having even more injuries than manufacturing and construction trades combined, according to 2014 data.
How Bad Is the Risk for Truck Drivers and Warehouse Workers?
More than 50,000 American workers were seriously injured on the job or had work-related illnesses in 2014 alone. This marked a significant increase since 2011. The Washington State Department of Labor and Industries released a long-range study covering 1997 to 2005, where it was discovered that on average one out of 13 truck drivers will experience a work-related injury that results in time away from work. The study listed five major types of injuries that are most common to the transportation industry, especially professional drivers.
What Are the Typical Injuries?
- Musculoskeletal Disorders: Those who spend extended amounts of time sitting down often develop lower back problems, scoliosis, neck pains, and even long-term health conditions relating to muscle spasm and spinal problems. A professional truck driver often operates a vehicle for many hours every day with minimal exercise. Further, drivers must perform strenuous activities like load and unloading heavy tarps and chains. These can all lead to physical injury.
- Falls from elevation: A fall from elevation occurs when a worker is climbing a ladder or working on an elevated platform and falls a distance to the ground. These are often some of the worst injuries because of the blunt trauma they cause. Truck drivers must frequently step up and down to access high truck cabs or attach lines and hoses. They also climb on top of trailers in order to secure loads.
- Falls from same level: These occur when a person falls down while walking, jogging, running, or traversing ground-level terrain. This can happen when trying to navigate a slick, freshly mopped walkway or even trying to walk down a hallway without proper lighting. Professional drivers often find themselves walking through truck stops and mechanic bays where oil, grease and other slippery surfaces are common.
- Struck by or against objects: When you are dealing with freight, there is always a possibility of being struck by an unsecured load, a ratchet strap, or unsecured chain. There are many objects that can create a hazard for a transportation worker in a warehouse as well, from falling merchandise to forklifts.
- Vehicle-related: It is easy to see how this somewhat self-explanatory category can be a big hazard for drivers who often drive more than 200,000 miles per year. However, there are many industries where driving is a constant hazard, from delivery workers to taxi drivers.
Staying Safe in Georgia
Georgia requires employers to carry workers’ compensation insurance in order to protect and provide for workers who are hurt on the job. If you or someone you know suffers a workplace injury, contact the dedicated Savannah workers’ compensation attorneys of the Bader Law Firm, LLC to learn about your rights.