It is the most important stat of all — fatal work-related injuries. And the news is not good.
Last year, fatal work-related injuries to commercial truck drivers reached their highest level in six years, according to results released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics in the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries for 2014. In addition, when considering all workers in the U.S., those employed in the “transportation and material moving occupations” accounted for the largest share (28 percent) of fatal work injuries, or 1,289 of the total 4,679 deaths in all fields.
Those numbers should be sobering for anyone in the trucking industry. Yet even those 1,289 deaths can be easier to disregard than just one — if that one fatality happens at your own company. To protect truck drivers, the key is repetition of safety tips. As Zig Ziglar said, “Repetition is the mother of learning, the father of action, which makes it the architect of accomplishment.” It’s why, week in and week out, safety should be elevated in all aspects of trucking operations. Here are some points to consider:
- Recognize that other drivers may not respect the “No Zones,” or blind spots beside and behind the truck. Just because you cannot see them doesn’t mean they’re not there. Drive accordingly.
- Texting. It can wait.
- Avoid fatigue (this is a big one). According to Effect of Sleep Deprivation on 18 Wheeler Drivers, up to half of all commercial vehicle crashes each year may be attributed to fatigue. In addition, losing just 90 minutes of sleep in one night can reduce daytime alertness by up to one-third.
- There is no room for tailgating. You won’t really get there any quicker, and you may not get there at all.
- Plan ahead and drive your plan. Anticipate traffic jams, construction, inclement weather and challenging terrain — all will impact your time and driving style.
- Do not speed. And in the spirit of repetition…don’t speed. It’s the number one factor in truck fatalities.
Of course, there is always more to learn, and Canal is continually reviewing and updating available safety resources. If you haven’t checked in with CanalRISK360 lately, there is no better time than today.