Welcome to week 4 of NSC’s National Safety Month! Here at the DORN blog, we’re wrapping up the month with driving safety and how employers can keep workers injury-free even when they’re on the road.
Driving safety is one of the most pressing challenges faced by risk managers and safety professionals. Across the United States, motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of work-related fatalities, and those numbers are sure to rise as data from 2020 becomes available. With COVID-19 and the related shutdowns changing the way business is done across industries, transportation workers, especially truck drivers, have borne much of the stress. Forced to work even longer hours than usual and cover even more distance to make sure that grocery stores, gas stations and other essential services have the inventory they need, drivers are now facing greater injury and fatigue risks than ever.
Fatigue is a major driver of accidents, injuries, and deaths that occur at work, and nowhere is that more prevalent than with transportation workers. A fatigued driver is more than three times more likely to get into a crash, and data from 2013 demonstrates that drowsy driving was responsible for some 72,000 motor vehicle accidents, 44,000 injuries, and up to 6,000 deaths. Those numbers become even more daunting when you realize that nearly 40% of American workers report that they regularly get less than the recommended 7 hours of sleep per night. Stemming from long drives, consecutive overnight shifts, poor sleep patterns, and other behavioral and mental factors, fatigue must be managed from the top level with proactive scheduling practices, data analysis, micro-breaks, and devices that measure alertness and predict dangerous fatigue.
But the injury risks to truck drivers and other transportation workers don’t end with fatigue. Musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) are also very common among these employees, who suffer from higher rates of back, neck, and shoulder conditions at higher rates than site-based employees. Worse, these physical issues can compound fatigue problems and give rise to mental health issues, all of which contribute to high injury rates and costs.
The DORN team has compiled a set of resources for employers looking to curb injury risks to drivers.
Fatigue threatens worker safety and organizational success at all levels. Read our original white paper on fatigue management strategies and learn how you can keep drivers from becoming fatigued on the road. Click here to learn more.
Our intuitive app for improving ergonomic wellness and workplace health is also useful for drivers looking to boost their own comfort in their vehicles. Click here to learn more.
Using predictive safety technology, AlertMeter provides a simple graphical test that can be taken before or during a shift on any smartphone or tablet, measuring worker alertness and warning managers of fatigue signs. Click here to learn more.
Reinforce best practices and healthy working behaviors with live virtual training that can be conducted for drivers before starting a shift to ensure their bodies are limber and ready to handle the demands of work. Click here to learn more.
Our custom wellness app provides drivers with a database of exercises and stretches that they can do from anywhere, helping to mitigate fatigue and reduce MSD risks. Click here to learn more.
Read the NSC’s comprehensive info kit on safe driving practices and injury prevention, which includes videos, fact sheets, FAQs, training posters, and more key resources. Click here to learn more.
Don’t miss other National Safety Month Blogs 2020, take a look: