Truckers take more sick days

Updated Dec 6, 2009

While the number of truckers off work because of illness or injury remained stable between 2007 and 2008, the median number of days truckers were off work because of health issues increased from 15 to 17 days from the previous year.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics also noted the rate of illnesses and injuries requiring truckers to take time off increased 4 percent.  This rate is calculated by dividing all hours worked by full-time and part-time truckers in a year by the number of injuries and illnesses. That result is multiplied by 200,000, which is used as the base for 100 full-time equivalent workers, working 40 hours per week for 50 weeks per year. 

Using this formula, the number of cases did not change significantly, but the rate of sick days for truckers increased 4 percent, according to Matt Gunter, a BLS spokesman. Heavy truck and tractor-trailer drivers had 57,700 cases with days away from work, up 650 cases between 2007 and 2008.

They were an exception in this category compared to other private industry occupations. The rate and number of non-fatal occupational injuries and illnesses requiring days away from work across other jobs decreased 7 percent from 2007 to 2008.

But truckers matched the national trend for median days away from work, considered a key measure of severity of the injuries and illnesses.  Across all occupations, that number increased for the first time in four years to 8 days in 2008.

Traditionally, truckers rank near the top annually for the most days missed because of sickness or injury.

Truck driving is one of eight occupations that had the most injuries and illnesses in 2008, continuing a trend since 2003. These occupations accounted for 30 percent of all injuries and illnesses with days away from work in 2008 and included laborers and freight, stock and material movers.

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