NIOSH reports high tow truck driver fatality and injury rate

On Behalf of | Mar 6, 2019 | Workplace Injuries

Pennsylvania residents who work in the motor vehicle towing industry may want to know about a recent report from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. After analyzing Bureau of Labor Statistics spanning the years 2011 to 2016, NIOSH researchers found that 191 tow truck drivers were killed in that period. The annual fatality rate came to 42.9 per 100,000 full-time equivalent workers.

This is nearly 15 times greater than the annual fatality for all other private industries combined, which came to 2.9 per 100,000 FTEs. In addition, the non-fatal injury rate for tow truck drivers was 204.2 per 10,000 FTEs, more than double the 98.2 rate seen in other industries.

Approximately 64 percent of all tow truck driver fatalities were caused by motor vehicle accidents. This was followed by contact with equipment and objects at 17 percent. As for non-fatal injuries, the leading causes were contact with equipment and objects at 34 percent and overexertion and/or bodily reaction at 32 percent.

NIOSH claims that the dangers tow truck drivers face have been largely overlooked. Tow truck drivers can consider the following tips to stay safe. First, they should survey the pickup area for hazardous conditions, especially if it is near a merging lane or intersection. They should wear reflective personal protective clothing and use warning lights or pylons around the area.

Those who are injured on the job through little or no fault of their own may be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. That is because workers’ comp claims, unlike personal injury claims, do not require victims to show that anyone was negligent. However, employers might argue that victims caused their own workplace injuries and deny payment. This is why hiring a lawyer may be a good idea. Workers’ comp attorneys might assist with the appeal, too, should one become necessary.