Trucking jobs among highest in injury/illness cases

November 4, 2020

Tyson Fisher


Trucking jobs are still among the most dangerous, according to the latest workplace injury numbers from the Department of Labor.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 10 occupations accounted for a third of all private industry cases involving days away from work in both 2018 and 2019. Trucking jobs were on that list. In fact, heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers reported the second most days away from work among all occupations in 2019:

  • Laborers and freight, stock and material movers (64,160 days).
  • Heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers (47,990).
  • Stockers and order fillers (27,390).
  • Retail salespersons (24,870).
  • Light truck drivers (23,070).
  • Maintenance/repair workers (21,490).
  • Registered nurses (20,150).
  • Construction laborers (19,790).
  • Janitors/cleaners (18,680).

Among those occupations, tractor-trailer trucking jobs had the second-highest rate of days away from work, at 280 per 10,000 full-time workers. Nursing assistants had the highest rate, at 283.5. It is worth noting that days off work include injuries and illnesses.

Trucking jobs in general experienced among the highest median days away from work.

The median days away from work for tractor-trailer drivers was 19, trailing only behind light truck drivers with a median of 20 days away from work as a result of injury or illness. The median number of days away from work in private industry in 2019 was eight days. That number doubles to 16 days for workers over the age of 65.

By industry, the transportation and warehousing sector fared better than several other industries. Last year, the transportation sector reported more than 100,000 cases with days away from work. Three industries reported more, including healthcare/social assistance (151,400), retail (120,200) and manufacturing (116,100).

As a rate, however, the transportation sector topped the list. In 2019, two of 100 full-time workers reported days away from work in the transport sector, followed by agriculture/forestry/fishing/hunting, with a 1.7 rate.

Across all private industries, the most common injury was a sprain, strain or tear, accounting for a third of the more than 880,000 cases reported in 2019. Other injuries or illnesses include soreness/pain (18%), cuts/lacerations/punctures (10%), fractures (10%) and bruises/contusions (9%).

Last December, the Bureau of Labor Statistics indicated trucking jobs are among the most dangerous in its fatal occupational injuries report. Driver/sales workers and truck drivers had the most fatalities compared with other groups with 966 deaths. When narrowing down to more detailed occupations, heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers had the most fatalities at 831, according to the report. LL

Tyson Fisher

Tyson Fisher joined Land Line Magazine in March 2014. An award-winning journalist and tireless researcher, his news reports, features and blogs bring depth to our editorial content, backed with solid detail. Tyson is a lifelong Kansas Citian.