Hazards and risks to road transport drivers
A report from the EU-OSHA Risk Observatory, covering the whole of the transport sector, highlights the following hazards, risks and OSH issues for the road transport sector:
- The main physical hazards and risks include: exposure to vibrations and prolonged sitting (design of seat, cabin and other equipment); manual handling; exposure to noise – when loading and unloading, when driving trucks (motors, tyres, ventilator, etc.); inhalation of vapours and fumes, handling dangerous substances (exhaust fumes, chemicals on-board, fuel, road dust exposure while loading, unloading and at rest stops, washing and preparing vehicle); climatic conditions (heat, cold, draughts, rain, etc); limited scope for adopting ergonomic work conditions and healthy lifestyles.
- Fatigue is the most commonly reported health problem in land transport according to Eurofound’s European working conditions survey and national surveys. The road transport sector is highly competitive. Workloads are increasing and drivers face escalating pressures, for example pressures from clients to deliver faster and more cheaply, with issues such as ‘just-in-time management’, increasing traffic, remote monitoring, and many drivers working irregular and long hours.
- Violence and harassment are on the increase in transport, but go largely unreported. Transport workers often have to act as involuntary intermediates for organisational changes that affect customer service. There is also a lack of reporting procedures, prevention measures and follow-up routines.
- The transport workforce is ageing at a greater rate than the general working population and shortages of labour supply may occur.
- Job content changes include: an increasing use of new technology – such as remote planning and monitoring tools, on-board computers for reporting and recording goods deliveries; the need for knowledge of EU road codes and languages. On the other hand the work is more monotonous with fewer opportunities for learning when compared to that of the average working population.
|Subsector||Some issues highlighted|
|Public passenger transport|| |
|Taxi services|| |
|Long-distance road haulage|| |
|Dangerous goods transport|| |
|Courier services|| |
The specific combination of risks and combination of factors such as ergonomic risks, work organisational stressors, noise, dangerous substances, vibration, unusual working times, working away from home and from a work base, lack of facilities, complex work situation, the need for constant adaptation, and the many structural changes that have occurred in the sector are a particular challenge for monitoring and prevention.
More information in the report
OSH in figures: Occupational safety and health in the transport sector — an overview (in English only)