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The Top 10 risks for truck drivers

Posted: July 9, 2019

Truck driver injury

The Ontario Ministry of Labour turned to representatives of the trucking industry to identify the top risks that lead to driver injuries.

TORONTO, Ont. – Driving a truck can be a risky job, and the Ontario Ministry of Labour has tapped into trucking-related expertise to identify the underlying issues that contribute to workplace injuries.

Distracted driving, driver fatigue, and the actions of other careless drivers were identified as the Top 3 factors that could lead to an injury in the general freight sector.

“This is what kept people up at night,” corporate risk officer Sujoy Dey said, referring to the issues that trucking industry representatives identified during a recent workshop.

Rounding out the Top 10 risks in trucking’s general freight sector were:

  • Everyday car drivers who are not trained in truck awareness
  • Driving conditions
  • Slips, trips and falls
  • Stress
  • Inadequate or insufficient training, skills and qualifications
  • Illness resulting from the lifestyle of a long-distance truck driver
  • Working at heights (tarping loads)

While participating workers and employers agreed on most of the threats, there were differences.

Workers, for example, placed the risk of a trucking lifestyle-related illness at the top of their list, followed by distracted driving and driver fatigue. Following that were the inadequate or insufficient training and skills; careless motorists; driving conditions; slips, trips and falls; and a lack of truck-related awareness training for car drivers. Stress and working at heights (tarping loads) rounded out the Top 10.

Employer lists were topped by distracted driving, driver fatigue, and driving conditions, followed by other careless drivers, and car drivers who are not trained to be aware of trucks. Rounding out their Top 10 were slips, trips and falls; stress; working at heights; a lack of road maintenance; and inadequate or insufficient training, skills or qualifications.

There were 105 situations or conditions considered overall.

“It’s trying to get to the causal factors that may lead to an injury,” Dey says of the need for workshops like these. “We must be able to follow these weaknesses in the system and keep plugging them … The need to find quick fixes or one-size-fits-all fixes does not work.”

Dey’s work is anchored in what’s known as the “Swiss cheese model” of accident causation, which looks at “active failures” like unsafe acts linked to an accident, but also considers the underlying “latent failures” that contribute to a situation. An unsafe action, for example, could be linked to a lack of training as well as a driver’s fatigue during a particular moment in time.

“The ability to do a deep dive is important because the intervention here is dirt cheap,” Dey adds. “We need to get out of the blame game.”

Similar workshops have already been conducted in the mining and agricultural sectors, and the emerging lists will be used by the Infrastructure Health and Safety Association.

Represented employers included AMJ Campbell, Erb Transportation, JBT Transport, Midland Transport, and Paul Quail Transport. Worker representatives were from Apps Transport, the Owner-Operator Independent Driver Association, Sharp Transportation Systems, Cooney Bulk Sales, and Loblaws.

Above all, the trucking industry itself is in the best position to find ways to address the risks, Dey stresses.

“Innovation lies with the regulated, not the regulator.”




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