Workers in America’s transportation and warehousing industry have recently experienced increased incidents of illness and injury. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2017 saw 96,100 cases of days away from work due to illness and injury; in 2018 there were 103,600 cases reported (2019 figures are not yet available). The increase of 7,500 cases may seem modest — until the ailing worker is you or someone you know.
Employees in the logistics industry face many hazards. Thankfully, workers’ compensation law recognizes workers’ rights to receive medical care and wages after job-related injuries. Workers’ compensation also provides for workers who suffer occupational illnesses, which are ailments resulting from an employment condition. Below are some examples of potentially troublesome working conditions inherent in truck driving and warehouse jobs.
Muscle strains are often the result of overuse or repetitive use. Warehouse workers who spend hours bending, lifting and twisting are often prone to such afflictions, especially in the back, shoulders and wrists. Truck drivers who load and unload their trailers face the same issues; their confined workspaces, hours of sitting and constant shifting of gears may create additional opportunities for repetitive use disorders.
Excessive or chronic stress may cause or exacerbate digestive issues, frequent headaches and metabolic disease. Even more serious are stress-related cardiac conditions such as high blood pressure, arrhythmia and heart disease. Truck drivers encounter stressful situations when dealing with traffic, facing road hazards and feeling delivery deadline pressure. Warehouse employees are often employed for shift work, which may lead to insomnia, fatigue and poor health habits.
Warehouse personnel may be in danger due to hazardous substances if shipping containers leak, break or spill. Coming in direct contact with substances may lead to contact dermatitis. If a release of fumes occurs, dangers include asthma and other inhalation disorders. Truckers are more likely to come in contact with noxious engine fluids or diesel fumes, which can have effects similar to those outlined above. If you ever feel afflicted with a job-related illness of any kind, seek medical care. You deserve proper treatment.