Truck drivers are exposed to many occupational risks when transporting goods by road: road accidents, those related to handling when loading and unloading the vehicle, tarping and untarping, or falling when getting out of the cab, back disorders due to vibrations and prolonged sitting, psychosomatic ailments related to the stress of time constraints, safety and possibility of flights, impact of hydrocarbon inhalations…The transport of dangerous goods by road (TDG) is the mode of transport most exposed to serious accidents, with dangerous consequences following a spill, an explosion, a fire or a toxic cloud, which can lead to human damage to the driver and the public (blast injuries, burns, asphyxiation), and material damage to the infrastructure and the environment (soil and/or water pollution). Working conditions (shifting hours, night shifts, distance from home, etc.) aggravate the risk factors inherent in driving, along with a poor lifestyle, particularly in terms of diet, which favors the onset of certain diseases (obesity, diabetes, hypertension, etc.), with increased cardiovascular risks.The regular maintenance of trucks, the choice of vehicles with all the safety equipment and an ergonomic driving position, a good organization of the working rhythm and planning of transports, the respect of safety protocols, a training of the drivers to the driving position and to the good gestures and handling postures, Periodic medical examinations to screen for frequent disorders, attention to diet, alcohol consumption and psychotropic drugs, are measures to prevent the many socio-professional factors incriminated in the occurrence of occupational accidents and illnesses among truck drivers.
The main occupational risks for truck drivers
The road transport of goods involves a huge fleet of heavy vehicles, with risks during their circulation and dangers at each load break during the delivery of goods. There are several types of professional situation: employee of a private company, or craftsman/manager of an individual company.The heavy goods vehicle is a truck with a GVW of more than 3.5 tons intended for the transport of goods, in solid or liquid form (tanker trucks): it can be an isolated vehicle or with a trailer of up to 44 tons for an exceptional convoy, equipped or not with integrated unloading devices (telescopic arm, hydraulic tailgate…).The transport can concern many dangerous products (TDG), petroleum products, chemicals, etc., which are flammable, toxic, explosive, corrosive (for example: gasoline, propane, soda, ammonium nitrate, etc.) or radioactive.The transport can be carried out over short distances (regional delivery driver) or long distances (national or international transport).The heavy goods vehicle driver’s job has restrictive work environments:- constraints of road traffic,- constraints of long sitting position,- constraints of carrying loads,- constraints of relationship with the customers, related to the quality of service,- constraints of atypical working hours,- constraints of mental load, related to the respect of the deadlines, to the responsibility of the safety of the transport of the goods,- constraints of displacement, of distance from the residence and of isolationThese constraints generate physical and psychological risks: the profession of heavy goods vehicle driver has a high level of postural requirements and stress with consequent pathologies, including diseases that particularly affect this profession: musculoskeletal, cardiovascular and gastrointestinal disorders.
- Les risques physiques des chauffeurs de poids lourds
Les affections de l’appareil locomoteur (troubles musculo-squelettiques), les maladies cardiovasculaires (infarctus…), les affections digestives (gastrites …) sont fréquentes chez les conducteurs de poids lourds et peuvent mener pour certaines d’entre elles à une inaptitude professionnelle. Les chutes de plain-pied ou de hauteur, les accidents de la route et aux quais de transbordement sont à l’origine de nombreux traumatismes.
– Les affections de l’appareil locomoteur
Les dorsalgies, cervicalgies, cruralgies, sciatiques par hernie discale et les douleurs articulaires aux épaules, genoux et chevilles, l’engourdissement des jambes, sont liées à la station assise prolongée, aux vibrations produites par le véhicule tout au long de la durée de conduite. La posture statique et les mauvais réglages du siège ou du positionnement des commandes, du volant ou des pédales, l’insuffisance de suspension du siège ou du véhicule lui-même, l’état du revêtement routier, les ralentisseurs, sont néfastes principalement pour le rachis. Les risques de troubles vertébraux par les vibrations, entrainant des trépidations et des secousses ressenties dans la cabine, sont provoqués par les forces compressives et de cisaillement répétées principalement aux jonctions dorsolombaires et lombo-sacrées, et ce risque est majoré chez les camionneurs qui restent assis pendant longtemps sur leur siège.
Il faut y ajouter les efforts de manipulation manuelle lors des opérations de chargement et de déchargement (élingage et arrimage des charges…).
– Les chutes
Elles concernent les accidents de plain-pied, de hauteur ou les chutes de colis ou d’objets non fixés. Les chutes à la descente de la cabine du camion sont fréquentes du fait de l’engourdissement des membres inférieurs et/ou de la glissance du marchepied ou de la chaussée ; de même chute de hauteur depuis l’échelle d’accès sur citernes, sur bennes ou sur équipements spécifiques.
Les lésions sont le plus souvent cutanées et/ou ostéoarticulaires : la foulure, l’entorse, les contusions, plaies cutanées et hémorragies, la fracture des membres inférieurs ou supérieurs sont les lésions les plus courantes.
Des calages et arrimages des colis mal assurés ou défectueux, une charge mal répartie et mal équilibrée, des objets non fixés, entrainent une chute ou une projection en cas de freinage brusque, et des traumatismes lors du basculement de la charge manutentionnée, comme l’écrasement des membres, les coincements des pieds et des mains, des contusions et hématomes, …
– Les accidents de la route
Les causes sont diverses : mauvais état du véhicule, faute de conduite du conducteur ou d’un tiers, mauvais état des routes, météo défavorable (pluie, neige, verglas, vent, brouillard…).
L’activité de conduite d’un poids lourd est intrinsèquement dangereuse, du fait des énergies cinétiques élevées mises en œuvre (fonction de la masse et de la vitesse au carré), générant potentiellement des accidents plus graves qu’avec un véhicule léger.
L’accident de la route d’un camion, avec ses conséquences de blessures sérieuses voire de décès, a des origines multifactorielles :
- Environnement (connaissance et état des itinéraires, travaux, météo,..)
- Véhicules (adaptés, aménagés, équipés, entretenus, …)
- Organisation (horaire, préparation de la tournée, …)
- Conducteur (respect des règles, fatigue, vigilance, capacités à la conduite, résistance à la sollicitation visuelle permanente …).
Les facteurs qui altèrent la vigilance, en entraînant une diminution des capacités de perception et d’analyse, une augmentation de la somnolence diurne, ceux qui diminuent les capacités de concentration, d’attention sont parmi les plus déterminants.
Les exigences d’efficacité et de ponctualité peuvent interférer avec les contraintes de la circulation routière (embouteillages, Code de la Route..) et générer des situations stressantes causant des accidents.
– Les risques aux quais de transbordement
Les quais de transbordement sont des lieux de travail dangereux, et beaucoup d’accidents survenus aux chauffeurs y trouvent leur origine dans de multiples situations : par exemple :
- Lors des manœuvres de mise à quai du camion en marche arrière, les chauffeurs mettent en péril le personnel qui évolue à pieds autour de l’engin, dont les autres chauffeurs descendus de leur cabine et se trouvant dans le même espace de travail.
- Des chutes de plain-pied peuvent se produire sur le quai (quais glissants du fait des traces d’hydrocarbures ou déchets végétaux etc.) ou lorsqu’un chauffeur décide de sauter du quai ou de sa cabine.
- Des accidents de circulation entre chauffeurs à pied et chariots de manutention : le trafic de chariots est souvent intense au quai de chargement. Un quai mal conçu, des vitesses excessives dues à la précipitation, des palettes stockées au mauvais endroit peuvent restreindre la visibilité et entraîner des heurts.
- L’effondrement des béquilles, le basculement de la remorque sont également des dangers pour la sécurité des camionneurs à proximité.
– Les risques des aides à la manutention et des accessoires de levage
Si l’utilisation d’aides mécaniques à la manutention et d’accessoires de levage pour les opérations de chargement ou de déchargement (transpalette, grue de levage, hayon hydraulique, …) diminuent l’intensité des efforts physiques et facilitent et accélèrent grandement les manutentions en réduisant les activités pénibles, ces opérations ne sont toutefois pas sans risques : les risques de blessures dues à un effort excessif subsistent, et le fait de tirer, de pousser et de manipuler un chariot, une transpalette, une grue… présente certains dangers, tels que : les doigts et les mains qui peuvent être coincés ; les orteils qui peuvent être écrasés ; les pieds ou les jambes qui peuvent être heurtés par la chute de la charge mal positionnée ; la mise en tension de l’élingue qui peut entrainer le coincement ou la lacération des mains et des bras …,
– Les maladies cardio-vasculaires
Les facteurs de risque cardio-vasculaire sont importants chez les camionneurs : certains sont liés à la sédentarité du poste de travail entrainant souvent un surpoids, d’autres sont liés au stress généré par les conditions de circulation et de sécurité, d’autres au rythme de travail (horaires variables, travail de nuit..) générant une perturbation de l’alimentation.
L’hypertension, l’hyperglycémie, l’hyperlipidémie ont une forte prévalence chez les camionneurs, avec leurs effets sur la plus grande probabilité d’apparitions notamment d’infarctus.
– Les maladies gastro-intestinales
De nombreux troubles digestifs sont causés par les conditions de travail des camionneurs : gastrites, colopathies, dyspepsie, ulcères. La mauvaise hygiène alimentaire crée par les déplacements et par des heures de repas perturbées par des horaires décalés en sont souvent la cause.
- Psychological risks for truck drivers – The rhythm of life imposed by the work of a truck driver, night work, long trips away from home, the wide range of working hours, generate a disruption of social and family life. The psychological isolation felt by the truck driver during long journeys is subject to significant personal variability: the distance can thus lead to risky behaviour, not prohibited or tempered by the work group or family proximity: excessive speed, overeating, consumption of alcohol and psychotropic drugs, inappropriate individual behaviour, etc. Violence linked to the theft of goods when trucks are stopped in parking lots, to stowaways, also constitutes a growing risk. – The noise of urban traffic often represents a nuisance for the well-being at work and, moreover, compromises the safety of the truck driver, because the extra-auditory effects concern in particular the psyche (concentration, nervousness, aggressiveness, etc.).- All the cumulative constraints of the profession, road traffic, work rhythm, external violence can lead to a permanent state of stress: the disorders generated can lead to symptoms of anxiety, depressive symptoms that can lead to dependence on alcohol or tranquilizers, neurotic disorders (phobia of driving…), sleep disorders.
- Chemical risks for truck driversTruck drivers, especially those working in urban areas or underground tunnels, are exposed to exhaust fumes and other pollutants, with toxicity risks that are all the more significant when the exposure time is long and repeated.Fuel delivery, filling tanks or cisterns expose drivers to gasoline or diesel fumes at service stations and depots, especially toxic benzene fumes.Tanker operators are particularly concerned by daily respiratory and skin exposure (splashes, staining of clothing, etc.), less so when loading tanker trucks by connecting hermetic hoses than when loading from above.Exhaust gases from diesel and gasoline engines, urban air pollution (carbon monoxide CO, nitrogen oxides NO and NO2, benzopyrene, …), are responsible, by inhalation, for eye and throat irritation, headaches, respiratory tract damage and allergies (rhinitis, asthma).Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), including benzene and benzopyrene, which result from the incomplete combustion of fuels, are carcinogenic compounds: although the exposure rate to truck driver exhaust gases is below the occupational exposure limit values, risks of induced lung cancer cannot be ruled out for constant exposure, especially in case of associated smoking.In addition, accidents involving the transport of liquid or gaseous hydrocarbons or dangerous chemicals can occur and there is a wide variety of sources of risk (failure of the mode of transport, containment, human error, etc.). The transport of dangerous goods (TDG) by road is a mode of transport that is highly exposed to serious accidents, particularly due to vehicle rollover: the resulting leaks and spills of hazardous products such as toxic, corrosive, flammable or radioactive materials are particularly dangerous for the driver, the public and the environment: intoxication or asphyxiation by inhalation, skin burns by projection or contact, explosion and fire, water and soil pollution.The driving of trucks transporting powdery materials from quarries, cement works, underground works… are sources of dust emissions of solid mineral particles in suspension in the air, and, in dry, sunny and/or windy weather, this phenomenon is accentuated. The fall of materials from the loading machine to the truck is also a source of dust, especially since the materials handled are fine and dry. When irritating dust particles get into the nose, they can cause allergic rhinitis or inflammation of the nasal mucosa.Some very fine particles manage to pass through the nasal cavity and attack the trachea and lungs, or they cause inflammation of the mucous membranes of the trachea (tracheitis) or bronchial tubes (bronchitis), but above all they manage to reach the pulmonary alveoli, and accumulate there, and repeated and excessive inhalation of dust can cause pneumopathy.Finally, cleaning with high-pressure jets of the vehicle entails risks of skin and eye projection with the stripping and cleaning products.
Risk prevention measures for truck drivers
To reduce the occupational risks of truck drivers, a series of preventive measures must be taken, relating to organizational (preparation of trips, break times, etc.), technical (vehicle maintenance, handling aids) and psychological (lifestyle, behavior on the road, etc.) prevention, as well as individual prevention (protective equipment) and training and medical surveillance. Given the frequency and seriousness of the dangers of the truck driver’s job, it is advisable to assess all the occupational risks in the company and to draw up the Single Safety Document by assessing both the material and technical environment (vehicles, organization, etc.) and the effectiveness of the existing prevention measures and their use.The transcription of this inventory in the Single Document must lead to the elaboration of a prevention plan to better prevent the identified risks, including the psychological aspects which exist in this profession and are sometimes neglected, so that the employees can be informed.
- Preventing road risksPreventing road risks means taking into account the training of drivers, the organization of trips, and the condition of vehicles. The driver must hold a heavy goods vehicle C or E license and have a professional diploma or have completed a compulsory minimum initial training course (FIMO) with a qualification card and/or have a certificate of compulsory continuous safety training (FCOS) less than 5 years old. In addition, for TDG, it is necessary to have a training certificate for the transport of dangerous goods ADR. This basic training is intended for drivers who have never received specific training in the transport of dangerous goods. It can be completed by specialization training according to the company’s needs. However, it is essential to obtain the basic training beforehand in order to acquire a specialization: tankers, gas tankers, petroleum products, LPG, etc. The driver must have the physical aptitudes required to drive heavy trucks and respect a healthy lifestyle compatible with driving, in particular not taking products that alter alertness, alcohol or psychotropic drugs, with frequent reminders of the requirements and penalties of the Highway Code.The road risk must be evaluated, taking into account numerous risk factors, some of which are subject to the multiple hazards of driving (weather events, road works, traffic jams, mechanical breakdowns, detour, etc.):- Manage and plan trips by preparing the itinerary including break times, taking into account fatigue when driving at night;- Anticipate possible traffic difficulties and establish a management procedure in case of delays or unforeseen events;- Take into account road and weather conditions;- Respect driving and rest times;- Prohibit the use of the telephone while driving.The working time of truck drivers is subject to regulation and must be recorded by a tachograph. Finally, vehicles must be equipped with all safety equipment (seat belts and airbags, screen/wall between the driver and the load carried, anti-skid and anti-lock wheel systems, emergency braking assistance, load securing devices, visualization equipment eliminating blind spots, speed limiters and regulators, gauge indicator, vehicle overload indicator, etc.) and safety assistance systems.Depending on the weight of the vehicle, it must also be equipped with a retarder (endurance braking).
- Preventive organizational measures – Pre-trip planningThe proper preparation and organization of the trip are guarantees of the safety of subsequent operations.The first preventive measure is to think ahead: routes to be followed, possibilities for parking the truck on departure and arrival according to the vehicle’s size and urban planning constraints, identification of access points, types of vehicle, handling equipment, travel time and duration of operations, etc. The loading must provide for an order of grouping of batches that takes into account the delivery circuit.Telematic management solutions for heavy goods vehicles exist, with navigation technologies that allow travel on routes adapted to heavy goods vehicles, taking into account weight and size restrictions of the vehicles, and those related to the transport of hazardous materials, with calculation of the estimated time of arrival, geolocation…- The safety protocolThe non-formalized relationship between the driver-deliverer and the recipient company is often a source of dysfunction and many accidents occur when the vehicle is stopped at the host company’s headquarters during loading and unloading operations.The decree of 26/04/96 provides for the elaboration of a written document called “Safety Protocol”, which is compulsory as soon as a transport company brings a vehicle into a host company (whatever its size) for a loading or unloading operation, whatever the type of goods, the tonnage and the nature of the carrier’s intervention. The safety protocol includes all the indications and information useful for the evaluation of the risks generated by the operation and the prevention and safety measures which are put in place and which must be observed. It must be made available to the members of the CHSCT. It includes information on:- the host company (access and parking arrangements, operating procedures, equipment used, emergency means, etc.),- the carrier (nature of the goods, equipment used, transport rules, etc.). In application of the general principles of prevention, this document is obviously available to the drivers but also to the work inspector. The absence of such a document in the event of an accident or otherwise is liable to penal sanctions.The safety advisorAny company whose activity involves the transport of hazardous materials by road must appoint a safety advisor who must receive appropriate training, follow training courses sanctioned by an approved examination. The safety adviser must hold a certificate of professional qualification valid for road transport, obtained after passing a written examination, valid for 5 years.the adviser’s mission is to promote in the company any action likely to facilitate the execution of the transport of dangerous goods and to help the prevention of risks for people, goods or the environment.- Documents and identification of the transport of dangerous goodsDocuments are compulsory and required in case of control, to ensure a transport of dangerous goods. These documents include the tracking form for the material, indicating the quantity transported, where the load comes from and where it is going, as well as the contact details of the consignee and the shipper, and the emergency instructions form. In addition, the regulations require that each load be clearly identified by reflective orange plates showing the Danger Code: this indicates the detailed characteristics of the material. For hydrocarbons, class 1 designates “Explosive substances and objects”, class 2 “Compressed, liquefied or dissolved gases under pressure” and class 3 “Flammable liquids”. the Material Code, which designates the physical characteristics of the transported material, a 4-digit number. It allows the fire and rescue services to know precisely the product in question. the Pictogram representing the main danger presented by the material: orange panels, placed at the front and rear of the vehicle, with the top number being the danger code, and the bottom number being the material code.
- Technical preventive measures – The use of technical aids adapted to handling or quick release systems can reduce painful manual handling activities, but it is always necessary to ensure that the equipment used complies with the standards in force, is periodically checked, and is adapted to the load it has to lift, to the ground, and to the unevenness. An ergonomic driving positionProviding truck drivers with an anti-vibration seat with oleo-pneumatic suspension and a wide range of possible adjustments allows the adoption of driving postures that reduce the stresses on the locomotor system.The choice of vehicles with the most ergonomic driving position is therefore essential, but this is not sufficient to limit musculoskeletal disorders if specific training and awareness-raising on the correct driving position (seat, steering wheel, feet and hands) and on the handling of adjustments (seat, controls, steering wheel, mirrors, etc.) are not carried out. A good accessibility of the cabin with a non-slip step, a handrail, a handle allows to prevent falls. – Equipment for cleaning up a leak or spill There are rapid intervention kits that must be given to the driver with written instructions concerning the measures to be taken to deal with leaks or spills. These kits contain absorbents that can be used on road surfaces (for oils, hydrocarbons, aqueous products, etc.), absorbent mats and pads, protective glasses and gloves, a shovel, bags for waste, etc. Safety equipmentThe truck must be equipped with a fire extinguisher, a first aid kit, a high visibility reflective vest and a warning triangle, chocks.There are specialized safety technical requirements mandatory for tank trucks (two fire extinguishers, battery cut-off switch, …). Proper management of the vehicle fleetMaintain the vehicles in good working order (maintenance booklet), plan periodic inspections (revision, technical inspection). For TDG, vehicle inspection procedures consist of an annual visit to approved organizations. The aim is to check that vehicles comply with regulatory standards (construction standards, safety equipment, etc.).
- Individual preventive measures – Personal protective equipment includes coveralls, handling gloves, non-slip safety shoes, a lumbar belt to prevent back pain, and a FFP2 dust mask when there is occasional high dust levels when leaving the cab (public works, underground, quarries, ….).- The serious incidence of accidents at work and on the road due to alcoholism that occur in the truck driver’s profession, as well as those caused by other addictive behaviors (drugs such as cannabis, cocaine, amphetamines, psychotropic medications, etc.) must lead the employer to insert a real “alcohol and illicit products regulation” in the internal regulations and to make it known with frequent reminders: formal prohibition for all employees on assignment for safety and discipline, medical visits “at the employer’s request” as soon as signs of alcoholism or other addiction appear, possibility of dismissal for serious misconduct.
- Training measures – It is advisable to implement training measures for the prevention of risks related to physical activity (PRAP) within transport companies. The Gestures and Postures or PRAP training is one of the means to fight against all the musculoskeletal disorders (MSD), such as lumbago, tendonitis… which so often affect delivery drivers. This makes it possible to limit the risks associated with handling objects and transporting loads, due to excessive or excessively repetitive efforts or inadequate joint positions, by applying the basic principles of physical safety and economy of effort. Training in the adjustment of the driving position also contributes to the prevention of MSDs. Training as a first-aid attendant in the workplace enables certain drivers to be trained and regularly retrained so that they are familiar with life-saving measures in the event of an accident: the role of the first witness, calling the external emergency services, initial measures to help save the victim, ….- In addition to ensuring that the driver has a valid license (control at the time of hiring and periodic control), it is useful to allow the acquisition of new driving skills (training for driving on snowy roads, in the mountains, etc.). Training in the rules concerning food hygiene makes it possible to achieve a more balanced diet and to reduce the risks of digestive disorders and overweight.
- Medical surveillanceAn annual medical check-up is required to verify that the employee’s state of health is compatible with the requirements of driving a heavy vehicle, including visual function, taking medication, etc.A certain number of employees must benefit, after evaluation of their state of health, from reinforced medical surveillance (night work, etc.): X-rays of the lumbar spine on a case-by-case basis for employees exposed to vibrations, blood tests including Gamma GT (screening for alcoholism), etc. A medical examination for fitness to drive organized by the police prefecture with an approved physician must be carried out every 5 years until the age of 60, and then every two years.