Back Injuries among Professional Drivers is a recognized high-risk occupational hazard as a result of long hours on average of 15-hour days, 70 hours a week. Job duties that can include physically demanding heavy repetitive lifting and moving of heavy loads, inadequate meal breaks and rest periods in-between shifts that result in no personal time to recover from mental and physical fatigue. This can have a profound impact on your personal safety and a long-lasting negative impact on your health and well-being, your quality of life, family life and social life with friends, and from earning a Gainful and Productive and an Independent Living with Financial Security for your future.
How a well-respected and trusted professional trucking company from a small rural Alberta community having a proud history of family values, and principles with the motto: “Since 1947…A Family Affair”, is one which we do our utmost to uphold, had an ambitious goal to be recognized as a leader in the trucking industry. Instead, this company was able to avoid accountability and demonstrated defiance by refusing to accept responsibility and report a work-related injury to the Workers Compensation Board. This report is a requirement by law. But instead, Termination of Employment without just cause of an injured professional driver while on approved supervised medical leave following my physician’s instructions via the company’s Employee Group Disability Policy.
It was acknowledged later that 63 Back Injury Claims in 41 Months among their own professional drivers in their charge and in return, they were allowed to walk away without being disciplined or monitored by Associations within the trucking industry that emphasizes Compliance and Safety Standards. Nor did they face justice or penalties by government intervention for failing to follow Government Acts and Regulations that are intended to protect the worker’s earned income and from serious injury. This is the same well-respected and trusted professional company that claimed to the trucking industry, respected members and the public they would lead by example and be a role model for others to follow by promoting change for safer working conditions in the industry.
The goal here is to break the silence by raising awareness to push for improved workplace safety conditions through strict enforcement of Compliance and Safety Standards. The employers’ legal and moral obligations to their employees. This includes Workers Compensation Board Act and Regulations and Employee Group Disability Policies that must include: 90% of net earnings which would also include overtime, annually indexed for inflation, out-of-pocket medical expenses, expert medical/specialists’ reports and examinations, effective treatment, retraining and rehabilitation, permanent partial disability benefits and received CPP Disability Pension, is not deducted.
I strongly recommend that an Independent Governing System is made mandatory and is established with an Independent 3rd party consisting of Medical Specialists’ and Legal Professionals without provincial government involvement to monitor employers and the entire trucking industry in Alberta for equality, fairness, transparency (Full Disclosure) and in keeping them honest to protect all professional drivers who earn their living on the road. Do not easily be persuaded to submit a job application and drivers’ abstract with a professional company to work for based entirely on public image and rhetoric promoting themselves as a 1st class organization. Before saying “yes” give careful consideration and, understand your rights and learn how to protect yourself in this industry.
This is my personal experience as a professional driver and how I was treated after I had reported a work-related back injury to my employer. I hope that by sharing this experience with fellow veteran professional drivers and the next generation of professional drivers who are setting their sights on this industry as a way of life will benefit from and share this information with others to help educate and prevent what has occurred to me personally to not be repeated to others. No injured worker deserves employment standards and human rights abuse in any industry.
Exposing an abusive culture and mentality and appalling lack of leadership/mentorship in the trucking industry in Alberta in protecting professional drivers’ rights, safety, health, and well-being in this demanding environment.