From The Ergoweb® Learning Center

Injury Statistics Show the Goods-Transport Industry Could Benefit from Ergonomic Programs

A Danish study of 5,896 work-related injuries among goods-transport drivers found that the nature of injury/type of event of the greatest incidence was sprain/strain due to overexertion (12.1 percent) followed by sprain/strain due to slip/trip (8.7 percent). 

Ten years of data revealed the following frequency of injury event type:

  • 22.3 percent – fall from height
  • 14.2 percent – overexertion
  • 12.6 percent – caught between/under objects
  • 12.0 percent – collision with objects
  • 10.6 percent – slip/trip
  • 9.0 percent – struck by falling objects
  • 7.4 percent – traffic events

The frequency of injury nature was found to be distributed in the following manner:

  • 41.4 percent – sprain/strain
  • 20.2 percent – fracture
  • 12.5 percent – not informed
  • 11.6 percent – soft tissue damage
  • 11.2 percent – wounds
  • 1.5 percent – amputation

Of all fall from height injury event types, the most common were falls from the truck with over 40 percent due to falls from the truck’s back hatch lift.  Overexertion was primarily related to lifting (31.8 percent), pulling (12.1 percent), and manually transporting objects (8.3 percent). 

The Bottom Line – How This Applies To Ergonomists

Since the key event types related to goods-transport driver injuries are commonly addressed by ergonomists, this industry could benefit from well-designed injury prevention programs. The authors suggest the following specific actions:

  • obtain assistive equipment (i.e., motorized pallet carriers)
  • provide protective clothing (i.e., safety shoes)
  • promote a safety climate (i.e., demonstrate optimum ways to perform tasks)
  • improve the physical work environment to reduce risks related to collecting, loading, unloading, and delivering goods (i.e., housekeeping in the warehouse)

Other Key Study Findings

1) Among caught between/under objects event type, objects involved included the truck’s back hatch lift (24.0 percent), pallet carrier other than forklift (19.2 percent), forklift (15.9 percent), and doors (11.3 percent).
2) Within sprain/strain injury nature, the main injury event types were overexertion (29.3 percent), slip/trip (21.1 percent), and fall from height (19.6 percent). 
3) Fracture injuries were resultant from fall from height (35.3 percent), caught between/under objects (19.9 percent), and struck by falling objects (12.6 percent).
4) Most deaths were due to traffic events (30.2 percent of event types) followed by caught between/under objects (18.6 percent of event types).
5) Nearly 50 percent of all back injuries were related to an overexertion event.

Study Design
Data Collection
The Danish National Work Injury Register (DK-WIR) contains information regarding work-related injuries that are compulsory reported due to the lost of one or more workdays excluding the day of the injury causing incident.

DK-WIR records from 1993 to 2002 were reviewed for injuries related to the goods-transport professions with specific concentration on:

  • Activity the worker was performing at the time the injury was sustained
  • The type of event that caused the injury
  • The nature of the injury that occurred

Article Title: Work Injuries Among Drivers in the Goods-Transport Branch in Denmark

Publication: American Journal of Industrial Medicine, 51, 364-371, 2008

Authors: H Shibuya, B Cleal, and K Lyngby Mikkelsen

This article originally appeared in The Ergonomics Report™ on 2008-07-16.