Transportation Trucking Research/studies Musculoskeletal disorders

Arm, back and neck injuries prevalent among long-haul truck drivers: study

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Birmingham, AL — Nearly half of all musculoskeletal injuries reported by long-haul truck drivers are to their arms, backs or necks – the majority being sprains and strains – according to a recent study conducted by researchers from the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

The researchers examined data from NIOSH’s 2010 National Survey on Long-Haul Truck Driver Health and Injury. Nearly 1,300 drivers were surveyed at 32 truck stops across the country. To be included, participants had to be working as a long-haul truck driver as his or her primary occupation during the past year and “taking at least one 10-hour rest period during each out-of-town delivery run.”

Results showed that 26.3 percent of the injuries reported by truck drivers were to their arms, while 21.1 percent were neck- or back-related. The most common types of injuries were sprains and strains (60 percent) and fractures (11 percent). Drivers most often were injured because of a fall (38.9 percent) or contact with an object or equipment (33.7 percent). Of those injured, 53 percent required time away from work.

 

According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, long-haul truck drivers experience injuries and illnesses that involve days away from work at a rate of 355.4 incidents per 10,000 full-time workers, which is more than double those of other hazardous professions, such as construction and extraction (168.9) and farming, fishing and forestry (147.8).

The researchers said the study suggests the need for injury prevention and interventions and ways to improve recovery when injuries occur.

The study was published in the October issue of Workplace Health and Safety.

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