In the United States, there are close to ten million people in trucking-related jobs. Over 2 million tractor-trailers hit the roadways each year, logging nearly 450 billion annual miles. These trucks account for 70 percent of freight transported in the US, with several trillion dollars of cargo delivered in North America each year.
For a delivery system that’s so critical to our nation, the safety risks associated with the trucking industry are huge.
OSHA reports that an average of 475,000 large trucks are involved in accidents each year, causing over 5,000 deaths and 142,000 injuries. A quarter of those belong to the truck drivers (although the truck operators are only responsible for 30 percent or less of the accidents.) In addition to driving-related accidents, regulators issued numerous citations for improper guards on equipment, lack of personal protective equipment, improper grounding of equipment and lack of proper fall protection.
The sad reality is that employees in the trucking industry have more work-related fatalities than any other occupation, with a full third of these deaths taking place off of the roadway. The industry also accounts for more non-fatal injuries requiring medical attention than any other form of employment, with the most prevalent injuries being sprains and strains. One of the most prevalent types of serious occurrences is back-overs, with many hundreds of employees being struck each year.
So what can be done?