Injury Prevention Around Trucks
Transportation related workplace injuries attributable to slips, trips and falls continue to be at or near the top of OSHA’s list year after year. Non-driving employees (mechanics, service attendants, casuals, etc.) are also subject to ST&F, Struck-by and other injuries as they work on or about commercial motor vehicles. What can be done to manage this source of workers compensation claims, lost time, disability and even death?
Thought (or Lack Thereof) Precedes Action; slow down, pay attention to foot and hand placement; recognize that entering/exiting the cab or cargo area, or walking on the catwalk or around the vehicle, if treated as a "mindless" routine activity will ultimately lead to an injury event. Watch for catwalk and frame member openings and spaces. NOTE: Avoid looking up and walking at the same time!!
Climb Using Proper 3-Points of Contact; maintain 2 hands + 1 foot, or 2 feet + 1 hand in contact with a stable climbing surface/grab handle at all times; do not climb while holding objects; NOTE: 3 = 2 + 1 (i.e. not 1.5 + .75); lack of a firm grip can leave a slight air space between hand/foot and climbing suface and nullify a solid "point of contact" - don’t rush!
Never Jump From the Vehicle; egress tactics influence risk with vertical forces up to 12 times body weight observed for persons jumping down from a high cab-over-engine truck; (i.e. a 200 lb. individual jumping from cab experiences over 1 ton of vertical force on impact to their ankles, knees, bones and joints; egress (exiting) injuries are three times more common than ingress injuries; face the vehicle when entering/exiting;
Wear Proper Personal Protective Equipment (PPE); protective handwear and footwear with noslip palms and soles and ankle protection (no tennis shoes or cowboy boots); if vision is limited, use a flashlight when walking around the vehicle. Regardless of weather conditions, walking around the vehicle and on climbing surfaces (steps, catwalks, ICC bumpers, etc.) means you will likely encounter slip hazards such as grease, oil, moisture or ice as well as trip hazards such as uneven pavement, chuckholes, chock blocks, tools, debris, wheel chocks – even a small stone has been known to cause an ankle twist!
The need to be seen is critical for worker safety, especially for workers who perform tasks on or near moving vehicles or equipment. By wearing highvisibility garments, workers can draw attention to themselves to prevent injuries and fatalities from struck-by hazards in complex work environments, when the ability to be seen at all times is necessary. For personal safety, drivers, towing operators, mechanics, technicians and service personnel should comply with ANSI/ISEA 107-2010.
Working around heavy equipment like commercial motor vehicles presents many challenges to personal safety. Something as simple as entering or exiting a truck tractor cab can be dangerous if you don't do it properly. Even veteran drivers can sustain injuries if they become careless.