Every day, truckers are faced with medical emergencies. Truck drivers are often the first on the scene of traffic accidents and other situations that require first aid, such as choking, bleeding, burns, broken bones, unconsciousness, diabetic shock, strokes and heart attacks.
Truckers themselves are often victims of injuries – from illness to accident, scraped knuckles to pinched fingers, bee-stings to snake bites – all needing attention. So be prepared for anything on the road.
WHEN SHOULD A CDL DRIVER CALL 911?
In the case of obvious serious injuries or a vehicle accident with possible injuries, always call 911 FIRST! The purpose of FIRST AID is to give assistance to a sick or injured person to preserve life and prevent the condition from worsening until full medical treatment is available.
TRUCKERS MOST COMMON NON-DRIVING INJURIES
- MUSCULOSKELETAL DISORDERS
Injuries to the neck, back, and upper extremities can occur when loading and unloading, using dollies and loaders, working on vehicle tires, etc.
- SLIP AND FALL ACCIDENTS
Nearly one quarter of all injuries in truck drivers occur when mounting or dismounting the vehicle. The other most common types of falls are from the back of the truck or trailer and cargo handling.
In one study, one half of those surveyed reported they could not see where their feet would land when dismounting. Other problems included steps that were covered by ice, snow, water, or mud. The most reported injuries from falls were back and knee sprains.
- IMPACT INJURIES
Being struck by or against objects, such as liftgates, winch bars, pallet jacks, binders and chains, or shifting and falling cargo.
These injuries often require on-site attention. First aid knowledge and supplies are a must for truckers.
WHAT’S IN YOUR FIRST AID KIT?
Most truckers carry first aid kits in their cabs, but are they adequate?
- HAVING THE PROPER SUPPLIES
There are many pre-packaged first aid kits available, but in addition to standard kit contents, make sure they include the following items:
- A comprehensive first aid guide or manual (see II)
- Examination gloves, preferably nitrile or latex-free rubber, to protect from bloodborne pathogens
- Bandage scissors which have off-center blades (look bent) and a protective knob on the lower blade.
- Mouth-to-mouth shield or dam
- Tourniquet bands or straps
- Emergency Mylar thermal blankets
Another thing to consider is your fire extinguisher, minimally Type 5:BC and Type 10:BC for hazardous materials (hazmat) loads. Be sure that it is filled and ready to use.
- KNOWING HOW AND WHEN TO USE FIRST AID SUPPLIES
While most first aid kits come with a booklet covering basic procedures, a comprehensive manual, such as the American Red Cross First Aid And Safety Handbook is recommended. Also good is the on-line guide Mayo Clinic – First Aid.
Recent guidelines for CPR recommend “Hands-Only” in most cases. Mouth-to-mouth CPR is still warranted for children, near drowning, carbon monoxide poisoning, and drug overdose.
Even though First Aid Certification is not mandatory to obtain a CDL, truckers would benefit from the training courses offered by the American Red Cross, the American Heart Association, or the National Safety Council.
You never know when you may need some roadside help, or when you might be in a situation where you have to provide help to someone else. Be prepared with the basics of First Aid training to keep you safe on the road.