Transportation Industry Risks

MEMIC data analysis indicates the following are areas of concern in the transportation and utilities industries. Consider these issues and the recommended solutions that — if put into practice — can help make your business safer.

1. Material handling
Many workers are injured during the loading and unloading process. Items are sometimes too heavy or too bulky for safe lifting. Too often customer loading/unloading sites are not safe, or proper equipment is not available. Drivers, for instance, sometimes feel an obligation to complete a job and will load or unload without proper assistance. To avoid potential injuries, employers should require workers to:

  • Use and maintain lift-aid equipment such as cranes, hand carts, dollies, and stationary rollers rather than lifting by hand whenever possible. 
  • When materials must be moved by hand, use appropriate body positioning. Avoid lifting from the floor level. Avoid extended reaching away from the body or overhead when moving materials. 
  • Ask for help when lifting heavy or bulky objects.

2. Medical management
If an employee is injured, managing that injury and returning the employee to work as soon as possible can help save money and retain valuable employees.

  • Develop a medical management program which identifies a specific medical facility or doctor that will work with the employer to return employees to work or to some alternate duty as soon as they are able.

3. Slips, trips, and falls
Many transportation industry injuries are caused by slips, trips, or falls. Here are some simple ways to prevent these injuries:

  • Keep floors and work areas clear of debris, electrical cords, tools and other extraneous equipment. Make sure floors are not slippery.
  • Remove ice and snow as often as practical and use sand and/or salt on slippery walking surfaces.
  • Fall protection is critical. An enforceable fall protection policy should be in place. Anyone who is in a position to fall four feet or more should always use fall prevention measures or fall protection equipment.
  • Make sure feet are properly protected, particularly in warehouse and material transfer operations. Sturdy foot protection can reduce risk to feet from impact and strains. Slip resistant soles can reduce slips and falls.

4. Motor vehicle accidents
Many of the most serious injuries in the transportation division are the direct result of motor vehicle collisions. Driver injuries are among the most severe and contribute significantly to the cost of workers’ compensation. Driver inattention and/or error are the most frequent causes.  You can help protect your employees against motor vehicle collisions by:

  • Requiring defensive driving courses which are aimed at improving driver attitude and awareness.
  • Control driving time to help avoid fatigue. Requiring your drivers to be fresh keeps you on the right side of the law (hours of service requirements) and helps prevent your drivers from sustaining injuries in a motor vehicle accident.