BLS Reports Texas Truckers Lead Lone Star State’s Accident Statistics

March 30, 2004

Texas truck drivers recorded the largest number of occupational incidents during 2002, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) Annual Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses.

The BLS ( survey was conducted in cooperation with the Texas Workers’ Compensation Commission (TWCC), and it shows that overexertion and transportation accidents were the most common causes of truckers’ injuries and illnesses.

In nearly half the cases recorded, the injuries truck drivers suffered resulted in keeping them off work for more than 31 days.

The BLS survey also includes demographic information for ill or injured workers. Results show that workers of Hispanic origin accounted for 36 percent of total cases, followed by White non-Hispanic (28 percent) and Black non-Hispanic (10 percent).

Regarding worker gender, 66 percent of all Texas work-related incidents occurred to men, with higher percentages in the construction and wholesale trade industries. Women experienced 34 percent of all injuries and illnesses, reporting more incidents in the services and retail trade industries.

The BLS survey also provides descriptive information by examining the cause and nature of reported injuries and the part of the body affected.

According to the data, overexertion was the cause for an injury or illness 35.2 percent of the time. That was followed by contact with objects and equipment (30 percent).

Sprains and strains were the leading nature of injury and illness, representing 62 percent of all cases. The trunk was the most affected part of the body; almost half of all recorded cases (49 percent) resulted in trunk injuries.

Besides identifying high-risk situations by the number of incidents, the survey also measures time lost from work. The median number of days away from work is a key measure of the severity of injuries and illnesses. In 2002, the median number of lost workdays for all cases in Texas was 12 days. However, several occupations recorded a higher than average number, such as cashiers (36 days) and construction helpers (22 days).

The survey shows the most severe injuries recorded were fractures, resulting in a median average of 44 lost days; carpal tunnel syndrome, resulting in a median average of 33 lost days; and amputations, with a median average of 30 lost days.

The most severely affected body parts were shoulders, resulting in 23 median lost days; knees, 22 median lost days; and wrists, 20 median lost days.

The leading cause of injury that resulted in a median of 56 lost work days, was fires and explosions, followed by repetitive motion, with 28 lost days.

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