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Delivery drivers may face a black and blue Christmas

In the last few years, delivery drivers have faced a daunting task every Christmas season: handling the millions of parcels that have to get delivered before the big day.

Many of the drivers are temporary, seasonal help -- hired on just to meet the holiday demand. Some may be driving small trucks or vans that don't require a commercial driver's license, while others are given compensation for their mileage and left to use their own vehicles.

Unfortunately, there's not a lot of time to train all of the holiday help, which means that many delivery drivers may end up black and blue from bumps and bruises -- or worse -- as they try to get their jobs done.

Here are some of the most common injuries delivery drivers face during the holiday season:

  1. Single-vehicle accidents brought on by ice, snow and sleet -- particularly in the northern areas. It isn't a coincidence that more fatal injuries occur among truck drivers in the winter than in the summer.
  2. Overexertion is a serious issue and accounts for 41 percent of nonfatal injuries. A delivery driver who isn't used to lifting large, heavy boxes is going to be prone to problems like back strain.
  3. Falls, trips and slips on icy or uneven steps, sidewalks, even objects lying in their path (especially since many deliveries are taking place in the dark during the month of December when daylight hours are short) are another huge risk. Fully 23 percent of injuries experienced by delivery drivers occur that way every year.
  4. Accidents with other vehicles are also common -- especially if a driver is unfamiliar with an area and another driver gets impatient and tries to drive around the delivery truck at the wrong moment, cutting the delivery driver off.

It's important for seasonal help to remember, however, that they have rights just like long-term employees, to workers' compensation benefits.

If you've been injured while making deliveries, make sure that you alert your boss right away and seek appropriate medical treatment -- that way you're looking out for your own interests if that "minor bruise" turns out to be a major pain that stays with you for quite a while and keeps you from working.

Source: Trucks.com, "Driving a Truck Is Among Deadliest Jobs In the U.S.," Michelle Rafter, accessed Dec. 07, 2017

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