Being a truck driver is a rewarding job. You get to travel the country, enjoy the changing sceneries, and get paid for it. However, the job also comes with its own set of challenges and occupational hazards. In fact, it could even be more dangerous than other jobs out there.
If you are thinking of entering a trucking career, here are the occupational hazards that you must be aware of:
1. Health hazards
Because of the sedentary nature of their job and prevalence of unhealthy convenience foods in their diet, truck drivers are 50% more likely to become obese than other occupations. An unhealthy weight opens up a plethora of other medical conditions, such as heart disease, diabetes, sleep apnea, and depression.
Not all truck drivers become obese, but the risk is high among those without proper guidance. In order to stay healthy, some trucking companies are offering their drivers free gym memberships, healthy eating seminars, and regular screenings to make sure they’re in good health.
2. Road hazards
As expected, being a truck driver puts you at risk of getting into a vehicular accident every time you’re on the road. Although every other driver has a certain level of risk of getting into an accident, large vehicles are more prone to causing fatal road accidents.
Some common causes of truck accidents include driver sleepiness, overloaded cargo, speeding because of job demands, and poor weather conditions.
3. Sleeping hazards
When you’re a truck driver, you will likely get less than 8 hours of sleep every night due to the demands of your job, especially when you’re a long-haul driver. As a result, daytime sleepiness and unhealthy efforts to stay awake (caffeine and smoking) are common.
Needless to say, not getting enough sleep is bad for your health and dangerous to you and the people around you. That said, you need enough rest days or days off from work, so you can recuperate and spend quality time with your family. Fortunately, there are experienced truck labor lawyers in Washington and other states who can help protect your rights and make sure you are being treated fairly by your employer.
4. Injury hazards
Aside from the injuries that you may attain when you get into an accident, you may also be exposed to general safety hazards. Examples of which are slipping, lifting something the wrong way, or dropping cargo on yourself. Truck drivers must be adequately trained to handle cargo the right way. Moreover, they must not be expected to lift something beyond their strength capacity.
5. Parking hazards
There can be a lot of rest stops en route your destination, but you can’t always expect that there will be a spot available for you. In some cases, drivers have to park somewhere unsafe to get a night’s rest.
6. Psychological hazards
Since truck drivers are usually isolated and away from their homes for long periods of time, they are prone to stress and depression. Coping with the mental challenges that the job entails depends on each driver’s attitude, but it also boils down to how the company treats its employees (e.g. compensation, job demands, work culture, etc.).
There’s no question that truck driving is one of the highest-paying jobs in the U.S. today. However, you must be aware of the challenges involved and prepare for them before you become a truck driver.