In my experience, many bus drivers suffer from upper extremity work injury and occupational disease. There are many reasons for these types of workplace injury and industrial illness. In fact, top causes include applying force (in the arms) to drive the bus and repetitive arm movements to operate bus functions. On top, other reasons include miscellaneous activities that relate to bus maintenance.


L&I warns about new work injury condition

If this wasn’t enough for bus drivers to worry about, L&I issued new warnings about upper extremity work injury risks. Recently, the Department of Labor and Industries (L&I) published a news bulletin alerting about a recent increase in shoulder injuries for bus drivers. Per L&I, bus drivers for multiple Washington State agencies reported injuries from opening and closing COVID-19 safety shields. Moreover, according to the news bulletin, drivers must repetitively open and close the shields in awkward positions. In fact, they conclude that the poor design of the shields is causing rotator cuff work injury.


L&I takes work injury occurrences very seriously

L&I developed resources to help Washington State workers and agencies avoid these shoulder workplace injuries. Furthermore, L&I recommends the use of automatic shields instead of manual ones. However, this is not a viable option for many drivers. To help, L&I wrote a manual to modify the shield to increase work safety and reduce injuries.


Interestingly, the full L&I Hazard Alert is available in eleven languages. This hazard alert serves a good reminder: It’s important to take safety precautions against COVID-19. More importantly, employers should think whether safety measures pose risks relating to injury at work for their own workers.