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Study: Physical driver screening pays off

| December 21, 2009

A two-year study by Atlas Ergonomics showed that systematic physical screenings of truck drivers prior to hiring led to a 7 percent reduction in lost work days, saving a long-haul carrier company $28 million in just two years – a return of $25 for every dollar spent on the program.

From 2007 to 2009, Atlas Ergonomics screened about 20,000 driver candidates for a long-haul truckload carrier. The study, part of Atlas’ ongoing research into transportation industry ergonomics, reviewed and quantified the effects of a Pre-Work Screen (PWS) program in addressing drivers’ risks of musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs).

MSDs are especially costly for the commercial transportation industry. Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and Washington State Department of Labor spotlight the industry’s high rates of overexertion injuries. Combined with a high level of employee turnover, these injuries cost trucking companies millions of dollars annually in direct and indirect injury expenses.

The study demonstrated that, by appropriately assessing drivers’ physical risks before hiring, a PWS program based on current ergonomic science can match workers’ physical abilities with the physical demands of the job, demonstrably reducing injuries and resulting costs.

With a focus on trends in injury rates and the costs associated with implementing the program, the Atlas study showed that a direct impact on core risk can be achieved through a scientific, systematic PWS program – ultimately returning the employer many times more than its initial investment.

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