Delivery workers in Australia are busier than ever. COVID restrictions on shopping and dining spurred growth in online retail and food delivery businesses. Couriers, postal workers, takeaway delivery drivers and supermarket delivery staff were all affected.
Delivery workers may take on an increased workload during busy parts of the year, particularly around Christmas time and peak sales periods, but time pressures can cause mistakes. Here are some tips on how to avoid injury and look after your health if you’re a delivery driver.
Common injuries for delivery drivers
Delivery work involves manual activity like heavy lifting, as well as spending hours on the road. Both can cause repetitive strain injuries as well as damage to the back and joints.
Working on the road increases the likelihood of experiencing a car accident. Whiplash and broken bones are common in car accidents, as well as more serious injuries depending on the severity of the crash.
Entering people’s properties to drop off packages or other deliveries also carries risk — attacks from pets like dogs as well as household hazards like slippery surfaces or unkept stairs can result in you getting injured during your shift.
Health and safety for delivery drivers
Practicing these health and safety strategies, especially during busy periods, is key for delivery workers to avoid injury.
Practice good lifting techniques
When lifting heavy items, it is important to do so using safe lifting techniques. Bend your knees, lift with your legs and keep your back as straight as possible. If an object is too heavy to lift safety, ask for help.
Avoid repetitive motion
Delivery workers are at risk of repetitive strain injuries, especially those who drive for a living. Drivers often sit in the same spot for hours at a time, which may cause numbness or worse in the arms, elbows, wrists, shoulders and neck.
Repetitive strain injuries can be alleviated by varying your seat position and your posture as well as stretching and taking breaks during the day. The only remedy for long term relief is allowing strained muscles to rest and recover, which can be difficult for shift workers, especially if they are not given appropriate breaks.
Take breaks to avoid fatigue
Delivery workers often work long shifts and may become tired, with fatigue increasing their chance of injury. Employers need to allow workers their minimum legal breaks, which may differ by industry and employment contract.
Look after your health
The likelihood of injuries occurring can be reduced by eating well and resting on your time off. A healthy diet and sleep schedule will help your body repair after a busy period at work. For delivery workers in non-manual roles, like drivers, exercising to keep fit is also important.
What to do if your injured as a delivery driver
Delivery drivers can be commonly injured at work, even when health and safety practices are followed.
If you’re injured at work, do the following:
- Report your injury to your employer immediately.
- Visit a qualified medical practitioner as soon as possible. You’ll need medical evidence to prove your injury was work-related.
- Lodge a claim for workers compensation.
- Seek legal advice to make sure your rights are protected.
Workers compensation for delivery drivers
If you have suffered a workplace injury as a delivery worker, you may be entitled to compensation for medical expenses and loss of income.
Written by Shine Lawyers. Last modified: November 17, 2020.