According to the U.S. Department of Labor, operators of commercial trucks are members of one of the most hazardous occupations in the country. If you earn your income by hauling cargo between Nebraska cities and other destinations, you must deal with many safety hazards every day — some of them life-threatening. Along with the risk of crashing, many other dangers threaten your health and safety.
Trucking takes its toll on the bodies of truck drivers who must sit in one position for hours on end while hauling massive loads of cargo across the country. Trucking is a competitive industry, and there are things you can do to help you keep from becoming a victim to an accident or illness related to your occupation.
Precautions you can take
Your health and safety are likely instrumental to your family's welfare. You can take the following steps that might limit the harmful effect your job has on your body:
- Fatigue: The most significant threat to your health and safety is fatigue, and staying cognizant of the telltale signs of exhaustion is crucial because fatigue leads to inattentiveness, which causes many fatalities among truckers.
- Cab comfort: Since you spend many hours in the restricted space of your rig's cab, it makes sense to be as comfortable as possible. Make sure that the height and position of the seat, backrest and steering wheel provide maximum comfort.
- Dress comfortably: During the long hours on the road, restrictive clothing can cause blood circulation and other health problems. Make sure you wear loose clothing and comfortable shoes.
- Avoid resting in the driver's seat: On short breaks, you can get out of the truck and stretch your body while walking around. During longer rest periods, you can lie down if your truck has a sleeping berth.
- Road vibrations: The natural vibration of the truck as it travels on the road surface causes whole-body vibration that could lead to long-term spinal health problems. Safety authorities suggest tilting the seat slightly to prevent road shocks and vibrations from traveling straight up your spine.
- Take care upon egress: After sitting behind the wheel for hours, you must exit the cab with care when you stop. You should always maintain three points of contact entering or exiting the truck to help prevent falls.
- Watch your step: Step with care when you leave the truck because you might encounter slippery contaminants such as oil and grease or there could be an ice cover on the walking surface. Slip-and-fall accidents can cause severe back injuries and many other injuries.
- Respect your body: Overloading your body is as bad as overloading your truck. Do not overexert your body if you must load and unload cargo.
What to do if you suffer an injury
Despite all your precautions, accidents can happen that might involve mounting medical bills and lost income. Fortunately, you may rely on the Nebraska workers' compensation insurance program to cover your medical expenses and a portion of your lost wages. You may also count on experienced legal counsel to navigate benefits claims on your behalf.