During the winter, drivers of light- and medium-duty commercial vehicles are probably already accustomed to watching out for snow and ice on the road. What they may not know is that most winter-related injuries happen while their vehicles are stopped.
While making deliveries or providing services in winter weather, truck drivers are more often susceptible to slips and falls that occur simply because they are not often trained to employ safe practices.
7 Winter-Related Injury Causes
Here are the top seven causes of winter-related injuries and some tips for preventing them:
- Rushing does not save time and it can easily lead to slips and injuries on icy pavement and other surfaces. Taking your time and treading lightly are sure methods for preventing these accidents from occurring.
- Distractions aren't just a hazard while driving. They're a common cause of slips, trips and falls, and winter weather increases this risk. Pay extra close attention.
- Improper lifting techniques, especially during the high delivery volume holiday season, can easily lead to back injuries. Use proven techniques to lift packages safely.
- Repetitive strain, which can lead to injuries while handling larger packages and higher delivery volumes, can be avoided with regular stretching.
- Getting in and out of vehicles is always hazardous and even more so during winter. Always maintain three points of contact (both feet and one hand, or both hands and one foot) when getting in and out of the vehicle and watch for icy or slippery surfaces.
- Cold muscles are more susceptible to injury. Take a few minutes to stretch and warm up before starting strenuous activity, especially in cold weather.
- Lift gate operation requires safe practice. If the delivery requires a lift gate, make sure drivers can confidently and correctly operate it before going out with a load.
Every light- and medium-duty driver can stay safe and injury-free during winter by taking a few simple steps. For example, because most injuries are caused by rushing and distraction, and winter weather increases the risk, staying in control by remaining focused and taking your time allows you to complete tasks safely. That includes proactively looking out for winter hazards like icy patches.
Other steps that will result in fewer winter related injuries include maintaining a good grip with both hands while exiting a vehicle or lifting a package. Walking a delivery path in advance to identify hazards, warming up before physical activity and wearing weather-appropriate clothing can all go a long way toward preventing injuries.
Winter safety courses as part of light- and medium-duty driver training can be used to effectively limit injuries and product damage during light- and medium-duty operations. For example, courses are available that cover winter driving and hazards associated with operating light- and medium-duty vehicles that are focused on how to deal with multiple winter conditions and prepare effectively for winter driving.
These lessons teach drivers about some of the conditions they may encounter when driving and how to prevent injuries when out of the vehicle. They also cover how to prepare themselves and their vehicles to operate in winter conditions, including those related to weather, traffic, and other challenges. Upon completion, the drivers will be able to deal with many of the issues they may face on the road and while making deliveries during the winter season.
How to Reduce Winter Injuries
To check your winter safety knowledge, take our free Winter Driving Safety Quiz. You can also provide reminders every day to your drivers with a free printable poster that outlines 5 S.T.E.P.S. every driver can take to stay safe and injury-free.
The tips, based on ITI’s course on the same topic, include:
- Stay in Control.
- Take Care and Look.
- Ensure a Good Grip.
- Plan for Success.
- Strains Mean Pain.
While the busy holiday season is behind us for this year, winter is far from over in many parts of the country. Still, most winter injuries are 100% preventable with proper training in prevention habits. Taking the time now to address injury prevention with effective training for light and medium-duty drivers can save time, money and pain (literally) for years to come.
About The Author: Thom Schoenborn is the VP Marketing with Instructional Technologies, Inc. (ITI), the providers of online training solutions for trucking, transportation and logistics companies that are based on the principles of mastery learning, up-to-date information, and accurate and automated record keeping. For more information, visit www.instructiontech.net. This article was authored and edited according to WT editorial standards and style to provide useful information to our readers. Opinions expressed may not reflect that of WT.