Some 2.8 billion packages were delivered in the UK alone in the financial year 2019/20 – 209 million more than the previous year. With the boom in e-commerce and increased demand for home delivery during the coronavirus lockdown, this year’s numbers look set to be even higher. That’s a lot of delivery drivers pounding pavements up and down the country.
On an average day, a driver might be required to deliver 100 parcels, with this rising closer to 200 during the busiest times of the year. With each drop comes the need to navigate traffic, find the address, park, jump out, and navigate any kerb or steps as quickly as possible, before heading off to the next drop where you’ll do it all again.
In these situations, it is no surprise that injuries occur. From repetitive strain injuries to sprained or twisted ankles, torn ligaments, and even bone fractures, these injuries inevitably mean failed deliveries, resulting in loss of brand reputation and potentially fines from the original sender.
Losing balance while carrying a heavy parcel to a customer’s door, tripping on a damaged surface or an unseen step in someone’s driveway, or simply the cumulative effect of the repeated action of pressing on pedals or jumping in and out of a van can all cause pain that is hard to ignore and, in the most severe cases, may require many weeks or even months off work to recover.
A quick Google search brings up forum after forum of injured parties comparing notes, as well as the contact details for litigation specialists should a driver want to make a case for compensation for lost income due to injury at work.
Here we break down some common delivery driver injuries to avoid, and how iSB Group can help you protect your workforce.
Common delivery driver injuries
Delivery drivers are vulnerable to many types of foot and ankle injury. These include:
Driver’s Foot (also known as Accelerator Foot or Clutch Foot), a condition brought on by the repeated action of pressing on pedals, putting stress on the muscles, joints and tendons of the feet and ankles. Over time, this pain can spread to the knees, hips and back.
Twisted or sprained ankles, caused by twisting, rolling or turning the ankle awkwardly. This is more likely when stepping on uneven surfaces, but can also happen simply as the result of losing balance. Even a slight twist can result in tenderness, swelling and bruising that may necessitate time off work to recover.
Ankle stress fractures. Over time, the ankle joint may be weakened by the repeated action of stepping out of a vehicle, causing a small bone break that can result in considerable pain but nonetheless be easy to ignore, potentially leading to further complications down the line.
Plantar fasciitis, a condition in which the connective tissue on the bottom of the foot swells, making it difficult for sufferers to weight bear or carry heavy loads. In the most extreme cases, surgery may be required to remedy the condition.
Torn ligaments. Stepping off a platform increases the risk of tearing the anterior cruciate ligaments, which are found in the knee. ACL tears often require surgery or other invasive medical procedures to fix the damage, and it can be a long and challenging journey back to fitness.
The importance of proper safety footwear
The nature of the job means it is impossible to prevent these types of injuries from occurring altogether, but there are positive actions that employers can take to reduce the risk for their drivers.
Top of the list is ensuring they have the appropriate footwear, so safety shoes that provide good ankle protection while also allowing for the flexibility of movement needed for driving.
It’s a big ask for a safety shoe or trainer to be comfortable, breathable, weather-proof, allow for a wide range of movement, protect the ankle and absorb shocks – but developments in materials mean these products do exist.
At iSB Group, our focus on providing specialist solutions to the logistics industry means we stock a large range of protective workwear, including safety shoes and safety boots that meet all the above requirements, making them an ideal choice for delivery drivers. We have recently worked with a well-known client to introduce a safety boot that has resulted in dramatically reduced incidences of sprained ankles among their delivery drivers.
To talk to us about how we can help you protect your team against these kinds of injuries, give us a call on 0121 749 4433 or you can email us.