Avoiding Slips, Trips and Falls in Commercial Trucking
Today is National Falls Prevention Day, and slips, trips and falls have the highest occurrence rate of all workplace safety incidents. This can affect you as a driver. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, half of all injuries to commercial truck drivers result from slips, trips or falls and often from getting into or out of a cab. While it’s easy to become complacent when performing an activity you do several times every day, something as simple as a small misstep could cause an injury that keeps you off the road, and without a paycheck, for a long period of time.
Here are some tips for avoiding the kind of trip you don’t want to take:
- Use the three-point system when entering and exiting the cab. Alternate placing two feet on the steps and one hand on the rails or two hands on the rails and one foot on the steps.
- Use the same three-point system when climbing up or down between power unit and trailer to hook up brake and electrical lines.
- Watch out for slippery surfaces on or around your truck. Steps, handholds, gratings, tank tops and ground surfaces can be extra slippery when any amount of oil, moisture, snow or ice are present.
- When walking around your truck at night, always use a flashlight. Watch out for uneven walking surfaces or potholes in parking lots that can be tripping hazards.
- Do NOT jump from cabs, trailer bodies or loading platforms. Jumping is a leading cause of knee, ankle and back injuries for truck drivers.
- Have a clear line of vision when manually carrying freight. Carry only what you can handle on the type of surface that you are walking on.
- Use secure and designated foot and handholds when climbing to clean truck windows and mirrors.
- When working on the catwalk behind the tractor, move slowly and deliberately. Be careful of slipping or catching your heel on metal grating.
- Use the three-point system when climbing up to tarp or untarp, secure the load, or close hatch covers. When possible, use a fall restraint system.
- When securing the load on a flatbed, use extreme caution. Make sure you have secure footing before you move, especially if you have to walk backwards. Watch out for gusts of wind that could catch you or the tarp and throw you off balance. Try to stay clear of straps when tightening or pulling them off a load.
- Watch out for “bad housekeeping” when on the loading dock - such as oil slicks, trash, broken pallets, loose or missing handrails, etc. Take time to clean up any messes you make or notice.
- Remember, fatigue, stress and haste can also increase the risk for a slip, trip or fall. Work and move cautiously and deliberately.