A third of UK van drivers have injured themselves at least once while loading their vans in the past year, costing businesses up to £3.7 billion annually, according to research by Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles.
Some 48% of those who reported an injury had to take more than one day off at a time, with an average downtime cost of £500 per person per day.
On top of this, 34% of drivers reported taking more than a week off due to an injury caused specifically by loading or unloading their van, with an average absence of five working days in a single period. This comes despite 83% of drivers believing they knew how to safely load their vehicles.
A registered van parc of 4.6 million vehicles means loading-related injuries are currently costing UK businesses as much as £3.7 billion per year.
To help businesses and drivers alike, Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles and Catherine Quinn, president of the British Chiropractic Association (BCA), have published a list of top tips to help operators safely load and unload a vehicle:
- Before going to lift anything, think about how you have prepared your most important tool for the day, your body. Take five minutes to warm up your body using simple stretches and full body movements like floor-to-ceiling touches.
- When assessing the object you’re about to lift, make sure that you are splitting the load up into manageable chunks, rather than trying to do it all at once. If an object is an awkward shape or size, consider asking a colleague to help you.
- Much like we advise people in the gym, ensure that you are engaging your legs when lifting anything. You have a great deal of strength in your legs and buttocks, so use them to drive up from a squat or lunge position to best protect your body.
- If you are someone who suffers with back pain, try to avoid lifting and twisting with a heavy item. Instead aim to lift the item, and then use your legs to turn rather than twisting through your spine.