Safety at Work

Workplace Hazards of Truck Drivers

The job of a commercial truck driver is one of tremendous responsibility. Truckers are responsible for handling large trucks and tractors/trailers on the road safely. When they fail to do so accidents occur and many are injured or killed as a result.

One of the most important factors in trucker safety is the condition of the truck driver. Drivers should be well rested and alert prior to getting behind the wheel. Secondly, the driver should make sure the truck is safe to drive. This is done by doing a pre-trip inspection and a post-trip inspection each day. This involves checking critical parts of the truck and trailers. Some items that must be inspected include:

  1. Lights - this includes headlights, taillights, hookup lights, signal lights and ABS lights.
  2. Brakes - this includes service brakes, trailer brake and parking (hand) brakes.
  3. Steering Mechanism
  4. Tires Lighting devices and reflectors
  5. Horn
  6. Steering mechanism
  7. Emergency equipment
  8. Windshield Wipers
  9. Rear vision mirrors
  10. Wheels and rims
  11. Coupling devices
Once drivers begin their driving day they must be aware of their surroundings at all times. Look as far ahead as you can see. Watch out for potential road hazards like items on the road such as tires that throw a tread and disintegrate across the road. Also, look out for stalled vehicles, disabled vehicles and accidents. Be aware of vehicles on either side of you, behind you and in front of you. Listen for sirens. Oftentimes you can hear sirens prior to actually seeing the vehicle(s). It could be a police car, fire truck or ambulance. It could even be a car chase. As the sirens get closer you will see the vehicle(s) and know which direction to move your truck.

Additional safety tips include the following:

  1. Change lanes as little as possible due to "no zones" or "blind spots."
  2. Keep adequate space between your truck and the vehicle in front of you in case of an emergency.
  3. Signal early and make sure other motorists know which way your truck is turning.
  4. Slow down long before you intend to make a full stop. Use flashers whenever you are driving slower than the speed limit.
  5. Park in truck parking spaces designated for heavy trucks.
  6. Avoid tailgating.
  7. Don't drive if you are fatigued or exhausted.
  8. Take breaks as needed.

Cargo theft is a serious problem in the trucking industry. It is recommended that drivers do not stop within 200 miles of picking up their load. Many thefts occur at truck stops, rest areas or drop yards. These thefts occur when drivers temporarily leave their truck. When they return they discovered their trailer gone and sometimes the truck as well. Trucks can also be carjacked.

Safety rules include:

  1. Always be aware of your surroundings.
  2. Keep your cell phone charged at all times.
  3. Watch for anything amiss such as a vehicle that appears to be following you.
  4. Don't give strangers information on the type of freight you are hauling.
  5. Try to avoid parking in isolated areas.
  6. Don't open your vehicle window or door to strangers Don't pick up hitchhikers.
Additional safety tips include driving according to weather conditions. Always make allowances for heavy winds, snow, rain and stormy conditions. Inclement weather conditions require additional safety measures. Extra time is required for trucks to stop on slick roads. Visibility can be poor. Drivers should know when to stop driving. Sometimes it is too dangerous to continue driving. Also, be familiar with emergency procedures. Workplace hazards of truck drivers

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Alexandr Grigorev

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