The steady rise in demand created by the growth of online purchases has resulted in an increase in accidents and injuries among delivery drivers. Drivers are putting in longer hours at work to keep communities supplied with life’s necessities as many people try to avoid or reduce the number of trips they make to the grocery store. A shortage of drivers has led some to work overtime during the crisis. Rushing to meet tight schedules, lifting heavy packages, or driving for long periods puts delivery drivers at increased risk for injury accidents.
Factors That Lead to Increased Risks for Delivery Drivers
Delivery drivers have been essential employees during the COVID-19 crisis. While they’re considered indispensable, these workers are at an increased risk of physical harm.
All motorists take on an amount of risk when they drive. However, delivery drivers deal with additional risks given the amount of time they spend on the road. Chances of a delivery driver being struck by a passing automobile or getting rear-ended when they slow down or get out to make a delivery are high.
Risk of Contracting COVID-19
Delivery drivers interact with different colleagues and customers on the loading and receiving end of deliveries. This increases the likelihood of them contracting the coronavirus, particularly in situations where maintaining the recommended social distance is impossible.
Despite recommendations by OSHA to have medium and high-risk employees wear PPE, delivery drivers may not have access to such equipment. Additionally, many drivers have not been able to wash their hands while on duty or have access to properly sanitized vehicles.
Overworking and Fatigue
Delivery drivers are struggling to cope with the volume of online deliveries. The current shortage of drivers forces those working to overwork. This exposes them to an increased risk of burnout, repetitive stress injuries, fatigue, and emotional stress.
While delivery drivers spend most of their time in a vehicle, they also get out and physically take the packages to customers’ doors. This process is smooth for most drivers, but many face physical hazards including cracked, broken, or uneven pavements, accumulation of snow and ice, and defective or uneven steps. Dog bites are another source of injuries sustained by delivery drivers. Homeowners who keep vicious animals or allow their dogs to run loose when opening the door expose delivery drivers to harm.