By Jena Williams

If you like to make data-driven decisions, especially when it comes to investing, you will appreciate this recently released study by the TIRES research team entitled Work-related injuries in Washington State’s Trucking Industry, by industry sector and occupation.

The research makes use of Washington State’s comprehensive workers’ compensation data. One of the key findings is: Non-traumatic musculoskeletal disorders of the neck, back and upper extremities are the most frequent injuries across all industry sectors and occupations in the trucking industry. If you’re thinking good grief, what do all those hundred dollar words mean, I’m with you! So let’s break it down:

  • Non-traumatic means the injury didn’t occur because of a single incident.
  • Musculoskeletal disorders includes injuries to the muscles, tendons, connective tissues, bones, nerves and joints.
  • Upper extremities are limbs, and include the shoulder, arm, wrist and hand.

These types of injuries are sometimes referred to as repetitive motion or overuse injuries and can occur from tasks like throwing straps or tarps, shifting, lifting, pulling or pushing, or driving a vibrating truck for long periods of time without breaks.

Are there ways you can make these tasks easier for yourself or your employees? One way might be to keep the work close to your body and the movements between your waist and shoulders rather than above shoulder level or below knee level. Small tweaks to how a job is done can prevent injuries and save your company money in the long run.

More to come as we delve into what we’ve learned!

If you want to dive into the whole report, it is available here:

Smith, C. K., Williams, J. Work related injuries in Washington State’s Trucking Industry, by industry sector and occupation. Accident Analysis and Prevention 65 (2014) 63-71.