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"Jostling" Incidents Can Cause Semi-Truck Drivers Serious Injury

Jason Reese

Synopsis

  • With more than three million semi-truck drivers on U.S. roadways, carrying average loads of 80,000 lbs., injuries resulting from an action called “jostling” are all too common.
  • Jostling of a driver can cause impact injuries, sprains, strains, and back injuries due to the truck cab landing violently and unexpectedly on the ground after connecting or releasing a load. Sometimes a driver’s cab can free fall up to 30 feet, while they are still in their cab.
  • Any semi-tractor driver who has experienced “jostling” should be checked for injuries, and “lifting” incidents should be reported to the employer immediately.
  • It’s the employers’ responsibility to prevent the serious injuries that can result from semi-tractor lifting incidents.

Semi-Truck Drivers Often Injured During Routine Lifting Operations

In the United States, there are more than three million semi-truck drivers on the roadways, operating huge semi-trucks. Week in and week out, these workers are logging nearly three billion miles hauling food, building materials, vehicles, commercial products, fuels, and more. These trucks are built strong and massive with the average 18-wheeler, when full, carrying 80,000 lbs., at 65 feet long, and 14 feet tall.

Much like any other worker, truck drivers are exposed to injuries from the job each day. One common injury comes from an incident called “jostling,” or being thrown about the cab unexpectedly after being lifted to attach or detach trailer loads. The Indiana Occupational Safety and Health Administration (IOSHA), part of the Indiana Department of Labor, says that jostling of a driver can, “cause impact injuries, sprains, strains, and back injuries due to the truck cab landing violently and unexpectedly on the ground.” Proper training of workers and clear communication during lifting operations are essential in reducing semi-tractor lifting incidents and the injuries associated with jostling.

Preventing and Reporting Semi-Truck “Lifting” Accidents

Before workers engage in lifting operations, employers must first ensure that any employees who operate cranes are trained and competent to do so. The containers should be inspected for defects before lifting them and workers should be trained to visually inspect container fittings for defects before a container is lifted to ensure that locking pins (“dogs”) will fully disengage and unlock. Containers should also not be hoisted unless all chassis twist locks are released.

From time to time, incidents do occur in which the chassis and container are malfunctioning, and an injury or fatality occurs. IOSHA standards then lead to the following actions:

  • All “lifting” incidents should be reported to the employer and/or company safety personnel as appropriate.
  • Any semi-tractor driver who has experienced “jostling” should be checked for injuries.
  • Any chassis involved in a lifting incident should be red tagged and removed from service.

Thoroughly training workers, ensuring proper teamwork, and effective communication during lifting operations can help employers to prevent the serious injuries that can result from semi-tractor lifting incidents.

Workers’ Rights

Semi-truck drivers are too often painted as rough figures who can handle any situation, including an injury. Because of this, some may not find fault with their employer if they were hurt. But all Indiana workers, including semi-truck drivers, are protected by state statutes to help them safely report conduct in the workplace that could be dangerous. Workers can exercise their rights under the law without retaliation, including reporting an injury or raising health and safety concerns with their employer or IOSHA. If a worker has been retaliated against for using their rights, they must file a complaint with IOSHA as soon as possible, but no later than 30 days. IOSHA will keep all identities confidential.

Contact a Workplace Injury Lawyer

Stephen Wagner and Jason Reese can handle your semi-truck driver work injury case with years of experience and proven results. Call us now for a FREE consultation: (888) 204-8440 or speak with us by submitting our online form.

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