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Truckers can take charge of their own safety

Do you earn your living operating trucks? Whether you drive a truck for a Nebraska construction company, moving company, or industrial business or if you are the holder of a commercial driver's license, you will likely face daily injury risks. Loading and unloading the truck, slipping when you enter or exit the cab and other tasks can cause occupational injuries — many of which develop over time.

However, the primary risk for big-rig operators is road accidents that could cause catastrophic injuries or worse. Fortunately, you are in charge of the truck you operate, and that allows you to take safety precautions to protect you from harm. By looking after yourself and your vehicle, you might avoid crashes that could prevent you from earning an income and leave you unable to meet your financial obligations.

The value of safety education

Remaining safe in any occupation starts with safety training. Regardless of the number of years you have spent operating big rigs, you can always benefit from safety training or education. You should refresh your knowledge of road rules, safe driving techniques and first aid at frequent intervals.

Vehicle maintenance

Insufficient maintenance can have devastating consequences. Developing a preventative maintenance plan and not deviating from it might help keep your busy schedule from interfering with the maintenance routine of your vehicle. Creating a checklist for your truck to ensure advance planning for major services and grouping interval-based tasks, such as tire rotation and oil changes, together can limit off-road time. Make a point of checking tire wear and pressure, operation of signal and brake lights and fluid levels at the start of every week or before every long trip.

Be prepared

Even trucks that are well-maintained break down or crash. Check your safety equipment before each trip. Essentials include water, a flashlight, flares, a blanket and a complete first-aid kit. Also, you should check the expiration dates on the items in the first-aid kit from time to time and replace expired products. Being prepared may save someone's life.

Embrace monitoring

You should not see fleet monitoring by your employer as a way of checking up on you but rather as a way to keep you safe. Various types of software are available to enhance safety — not only to identify lousy driving habits, such as tailgating, heavy braking or speeding, but also to ensure the best routes are followed to save wear and tear, tire tread, time and fuel.

Accident injuries

Despite all your steps to stay safe, another driver's negligence might cause an accident. If you suffer any work-related injury, you can pursue financial relief. Your employer's workers' compensation insurance program should provide benefits to cover all the medical expenses along with a portion of lost wages for any time spent in a hospital and for recuperation. You may benefit by using legal counsel to navigate the claims process.

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