The Bollinger Law Firm, P.C.

Loading dock injuries can end truckers' careers

Some of the most devastating injuries commercial truck drivers can suffer don't occur as they're rumbling down the interstate at 70 mph. They happen when the truck is at a standstill at the warehouse or loading dock.

Roughly a quarter of all injuries at warehouses involve the loading and unloading of cargo from commercial trucks. Being aware of this can alert truckers and warehouse workers to unsafe practices.

Common causes of injuries on loading docks

Injuries that truckers and warehouse workers may suffer range from minor inconveniences to fatalities. Learning about these risks can prevent everything from mashed thumbs to crushing deaths. Below are some of the most frequent causes of workplace injuries for truckers and warehouse employees.

  • Falls. This is the number one cause of dockworker injuries. Spills, drips and leaks in the ca rgo unloading area contribute to an increase in fall risks. Workers or supervisors who spot spills should halt activities until the spills are contained and cleaned up. Workers who fall off an unbarricaded dock's edge can wind up paralyzed or dead.
  • Shifting loads. Securing a load before transport is important, but doesn't guarantee that loads won't still shift in transit. Straps and pallets can break, causing heavy loads to crush unlucky workers who slide open the trailer doors.
  • Crushing injuries. Loading dock workers can get crushed between a backing-up semitruck and the wall or dock's edge. Workers should never stand inside the truck or on the dock when a driver is behind the wheel or the motor is running.
  • Sprains and strains from improper lifting techniques. Speed is of the essence when loading and unloading cargo from trucks, but safety should never be compromised for haste. All truckers and dock workers need proper training to learn how to safely bend and lift heavy items. Tasks should be rotated to reduce the likelihood of repetitive motion injuries from occurring over time.

Forklift injuries can also be deadly

A forklift tumbling off a loading dock can cause catastrophic injuries to the operator and anyone unlucky enough to be working or walking beneath it. Fast-paced, loud environments exacerbate the problem because communication is difficult between workers.

If you are a truck driver or warehouse worker who suffered on-the-job injuries while loading or unloading cargo, you have the right to file workers' compensation claims for your injuries. The amount that you receive depends on the extent and duration of your injuries. A North Carolina workers' comp attorney can review your case and assist you during the claims or appeals process.

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