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OSHA article - suicide graphic


Every fall, mental health organizations and people across the United States raise awareness for suicide prevention. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries, there were 307 workplace fatalities by suicide in 2019. This is the highest level on record. Workplace suicides increased by one percent from 2018 and by 34.1 percent from the 10-year low in 2015.

The top 13 detailed occupations in which worker suicides were most prevalent accounted for 39.4 percent (121 cases) of all workplace suicides in 2019.

Occupation Workplace Suicides
Heavy & tractor-trailer drivers 24
First-line Supervisors of retail sales workers 20
Military-specific occupations 17
Farmers, ranchers and other agricultural managers 13
First-line supervisors of mechanics, installers and repairs 9
Construction laborers 7
Maintenance & repair workers, general 6
Food Service managers 5
First-line supervisors of food preparation and serving workers 4
Electricians 4
First-line supervisors of food preparation and serving workers 4
Chief executives 4
Police and sheriff's patrol officers 4

Mental health can be hard to quantify. Truck drivers are often reluctant to discuss their mental health for several reasons including fear of losing their jobs, or medical certifications. There can also be a social stigma around asking for help. According to a recent study, this especially effects men, who make up about 80% of truck drivers in America.

Some drivers may not realize they are experiencing a mental health issue. The most common types of mental health issues that go unnoticed are:
• Depression
• Anxiety disorders
• Sleep deprivation
• Bipolar disorder

Each disorder has the opportunity to create additional stress and pressure on a driver who already experiences extensive demands from his or her career. Long-haul truckers spend a substantial amount of time on the road, making it difficult to schedule appointments and pursue medical advice.

Drivers also experience post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after witnessing horrific accidents and collisions on the road. These incidents, mixed with the inevitable loneliness of truck driving, can certainly create distress in a driver’s day-to-day life.

Employers should encourage drivers to express their difficulties, seek medical advice and communicate any issues. Employers with established support programs for their drivers will be more successful at retaining associates and improving morale. 
  • Categorized in:
  • Health & Wellness
  • Injury Prevention