FedEx drivers, bicycle messengers, and mail carriers have some of the most dangerous jobs in Pennsylvania.
By one assessment, couriers and messengers have the 9th most risky work in the U.S., with 6,800 injuries a year for every 100,000 workers. A CNN/Money review of occupational risks found that truck drivers and deliverymen die on the job more often than any other workers. Unlike many other occupations, the jobs of delivery agents and truckers bring them into extended contact with other people outside a closed work environment. Thus, even if the employer stresses safety procedures in this dangerous industry, the employee will often be outside the workplace, in an area where safety is not always a primary concern. Stress from the job-combined with pressure to make deliveries within a certain time window-can add to the risk of delivery jobs, too.
Workers’ Compensation: What It Does, And What It Can’t Do
Pennsylvania workers’ compensation benefits are available to an injured worker without regard to who may have been at fault in causing the injury. Under state law, in exchange for guaranteed compensation for workplace injuries, all workers lose their rights to sue their employers or coworkers for any negligent acts that may have harmed them. In some cases, a Pennsylvania truck driver or delivery worker hurt on the job by someone other than the employer or a coworker can purse a personal injury lawsuit against a negligent third party. Your Philadelphia injury attorney can advise you if that applies to your situation. Increasingly, some businesses are trying to escape their legal obligation to provide workers’ compensation coverage for their employees in Pennsylvania and other states. Recent news reports have highlighted how private package delivery companies have attempted to wrongly classify workers as independent contractors who are exempt from coverage under workers’ compensation rules. Some injured workers have hired legal representation to sue for the benefits they deserve, but the industry as a whole is trying to undermine employees’ rights.
Pennsylvania Workplace Injuries That Hurt Delivery Workers
As health benefits lawyers in Philadelphia, we have learned that accidents play no favorites: any accident can happen to any person. However, every job category faces a unique set of most common injuries. Our clients who are truckers, postal workers, messengers, and delivery agents most often experience the following complaints:
- Animal bites. It’s not a joke. More than 5,600 mail carriers were victims of dog attacks in 2011. In addition, hundreds of private package delivery agents, messengers, and restaurant delivery drivers are also injured by animal attacks each year. A new layer of risk comes from insect attacks, such as the stings of bees, hornets, and mosquitoes. Insect bites can trigger dangerous-even fatal-allergic reactions in some vulnerable persons, or can spread dangerous diseases including Lyme disease, West Nile virus, and LaCrosse encephalitis virus.
- Dangerous deliveries. Truckers are sometimes required to carry inherently dangerous cargo-liquefied gasses, acids, and even flammable compounds such as jet fuel. What’s worse is that many of these dangerous items are not properly secured, whether it be with ropes or a secure truck bed tonneau cover. If these items are not properly stowed for travel they can be damaged if an accident occurs or if the truck goes over uneven ground. The driver is thus exposed to the risk of chemical or incendiary burns. Other delivery workers can be exposed to improperly labeled medical specimens or other biological materials that can lead to infection, exposure to radioactivity, and other forms of occupational illness if the container is breached.
- Lifting injuries. Lifting injuries for delivery workers can be caused either by sudden physical trauma, or by strain that accumulates over a period of time. Loading or unloading heavier items can trigger a sudden muscle or bone injury, a slipped disc or other spine injury, or a hernia. Lifting injuries are among the most common in all work environments, with damage to the lower back being the most common form.
- Muscle and bone injuries. Falls, repetitive motions, traffic collisions, and the other hazards of a delivery worker’s job can inflict painful bone and joint injuries. Statistics show that these musculoskeletal disorders account for almost one-third of employee injuries. Muscle strains, broken ribs, sprained ankles, rotator cuff tears, and neck and back injuries are all problems that bring injured delivery workers and messengers to our office.
- Repetitive motion injuries. Delivery workers repeat the same motions over and over each workday in the course of their duties. Using the same muscles to open doors, lift packages, or even control a steering wheel for hours on end creates repetitive trauma on muscle groups and inflames nearby nerves. The result can be searing pain and disability.
- Slip and fall injuries. A package handler or delivery agent can easily suffer a fall injury on stairs or escalators, icy sidewalks, or poorly maintained loading docks. The result can range from minor sprains and bruises to a debilitating spinal injury, concussion, broken bone, or joint damage requiring surgery.
- Traffic accidents. Bicycle messengers, truck drivers, and even pizza delivery guys are regularly exposed to the hazards of the roadways as part of their jobs. Those workers can be injured in motor vehicle accidents due to other drivers’ errors, defective street and highway surfaces, or a sudden breakdown in their own vehicle. Workers’ compensation in Pennsylvania-unlike personal injury lawsuits-can even compensate the injured worker when he is fully or partial responsible for an accident due to fatigue, negligence, or poor concentration.
How The Bulldog Lawyers Can Help Your Workers’ Compensation Case
For over 20 years, the Pennsylvania Worker’s Compensation of Larry Levin and Jay Shor have been fighting for the rights of all employees to get fair recoveries when they are injured at work. With our offices located throughout the state-in Philadelphia, Reading, and Harrisburg-we can provide legal advice to any worker whose benefits are delayed, denied, or terminated too early. Call us today at 866-462-8553 to learn how we can leverage our experience to get you the compensation you deserve.