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Program Description

The mission of the NIOSH research program for the Transportation, Warehousing, and Utilities Sector is to eliminate occupational injuries, illnesses, and fatalities among workers in these industries through a focused program of research and prevention. The program strives to fulfill its mission through the following methods:

  • High Quality Research: NIOSH will continually strive for high quality research and prevention activities that will lead to reductions in occupational injuries and illnesses among workers in the Transportation, Warehousing, and Utilities industries.
  • Practical Solutions: The NIOSH program for the Transportation, Warehousing, and Utilities Sector is committed to the development of practical solutions to the complex problems that cause occupational injuries, illnesses, and fatalities among workers in these industries.
  • Partnerships: Collaborative efforts in partnership with labor, industry, government, and other stakeholders are usually the best means of achieving successful outcomes. Fostering these partnerships is a cornerstone of the NIOSH program for the Transportation, Warehousing, and Utilities Sector.
  • Research to Practice ( r2p ): NIOSH research is truly valuable only when put into practice. Every research project within the NIOSH program for the Transportation, Warehousing, and Utilities Sector formulates a strategy to promote the transfer and translation of research findings into prevention practices and products that will be adopted in the workplace.


Repeated Cross-Sectional Assessment of Commercial Truck Driver Health
J Occup Environ Med. 2015 Sep;57(9):1022-7
To assess relationships and trends over time in individual conditions and multiple conditions among a large sample of independent, nonoverlapping truck drivers using a repeated cross-sectional study design. Commercial driver medical examinations were conducted on 95,567 commercial drivers between January 1, 2005, and October 31, 2012. Specific medical conditions that have been identified by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration's Medical Review Board as possibly increasing crash risk were examined. Prevalence and trends over time were analyzed. A total of 8 of the 13 conditions significantly increased from 2005 to 2012. Prevalence of multiple concomitant conditions also increased, with prevalence odds ratios as high as 7.39 (95% confidence interval, 3.92 to 13.98) for four or more conditions in 2012 as compared with 2005. Individual and multiple conditions thought to be associated with increased crash risk significantly increased between 2005 and 2012.

Commercial Driver Medical Examinations: Prevalence of Obesity, Comorbidities, and Certification Outcomes
J Occup Environ Med. 2015 Jun;57(6):659-65
The objective of this study was to assess relationships between body mass index (BMI) and comorbid conditions within a large sample of truck drivers. Commercial driver medical examination data from 88,246 commercial drivers between 2005 and 2012 were analyzed for associations between BMI, medical disorders, and driver certification. Most drivers were obese (53.3%, BMI >30.0 kg/m2) and morbidly obese (26.6%, BMI >35.0 kg/m2), higher than prior reports. Obese drivers were less likely to be certified for 2 years and more likely to report heart disease, hypertension, diabetes mellitus, nervous disorders, sleep disorders, and chronic low back pain (all P <0.0001). There are relationships between multiple potentially disqualifying conditions and increasing obesity (P <0.0001). Morbid obesity prevalence increased 8.9% and prevalence of three or more multiple conditions increased fourfold between 2005 and 2012. Conclusions: Obesity is related to multiple medical factors as well as increasing numbers of conditions that limit driving certification.

Other News

NIOSH National Survey of Long-haul Truck Drivers: Injury and Safety
Accident Analysis and Prevention 2015 Dec; 85:66-72
The National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health conducted a nationally representative survey of 1265 LHTDs at 32 truck stops across the contiguous United States in 2010. Data were collected on truck crashes, near misses, moving violations, work-related injuries, work environment, safety climate, driver training, job satisfaction, and driving behaviors. Results suggested that an estimated 2.6% of LHTDs reported a truck crash in 2010, 35% reported at least one crash while working as an LHTD, 24% reported at least one near miss in the previous 7 days, 17% reported at least one moving violation ticket and 4.7% reported a non-crash injury involving days away from work in the previous 12 months. The majority (68%) of non-crash injuries among company drivers were not reported to employers. An estimate of 73% of LHTDs (16% often and 58% sometimes) perceived their delivery schedules unrealistically tight; 24% often continued driving despite fatigue, bad weather, or heavy traffic because they needed to deliver or pick up a load at a given time; 4.5% often drove 10 miles per hours or more over the speed limit; 6.0% never wore a seatbelt; 36% were often frustrated by other drivers on the road; 35% often had to wait for access to a loading dock; 37% reported being noncompliant with hours-of-service rules (10% often and 27% sometimes); 38% of LHTDs perceived their entry-level training inadequate; and 15% did not feel that safety of workers was a high priority with their management. This survey brings to light a number of important safety issues for further research and interventions, e.g., high prevalence of truck crashes, injury underreporting, unrealistically tight delivery schedules, noncompliance with hours-of-service rules, and inadequate entry-level training.


Spotlights National Survey of US Long-Haul Truck Driver Health and Injury: Health Behaviors
J Occup Environ Med 2015 Feb; 57(2):210-216
Research has shown that the modifiable risk factors of personal behavior and obesity can be powerful determinants of health and longevity, although working conditions of long-haul truck drivers may impede successful management of these modifiable risk factors. The purpose of this research was to compare selected health behaviors and body mass index (modifiable risk factors) of US long-haul truck drivers to the US working population by sex. The National Survey of US Long-Haul Truck Driver Health and Injury interviewed a nationally representative sample of long-haul truck drivers (n = 1265) at truck stops. Age-adjusted results were compared with national health surveys. Compared with US workers, drivers had significantly higher body mass index, current cigarette use, and pack-years of smoking; lower prevalence of annual influenza vaccination; and generally lower alcohol consumption. Physical activity level was low for most drivers, and 25% had never had their cholesterol levels tested. Working conditions common to long-haul trucking may create significant barriers to certain healthy behaviors; thus, transportation and health professionals should address the unique work environment when developing interventions for long-haul drivers.

Miscarriage Among Flight Attendants
Epidemiology 2015 Mar; 26(2):192-203
Cosmic radiation and circadian disruption are potential reproductive hazards for flight attendants. We assessed cosmic radiation and circadian disruption from company records of 2 million individual flights. This research found that miscarriage was associated with flight attendant work during sleep hours and high physical job demands and may be associated with cosmic radiation exposure.

Trucker Safety

Vital Signs Truck Driver Safety Widget

Vital Signs - Trucker Safety

Trucker safety requires an alert, buckled-up, experienced driver, with a reliable vehicle and strong employer safety programs. About 2.6 million workers drive trucks that weigh over 10,000 pounds (large trucks). About 65% of on-the-job deaths of US truck drivers in 2012 were the result of a motor vehicle crash.

MMWR Vital Signs: Seat Belt Use Among Long-Haul Truck Drivers — United States, 2010

Motor vehicle crashes were the leading cause of occupational fatalities in the United States in 2012, accounting for 25% of deaths. Truck drivers accounted for 46% of these deaths. This study estimates the prevalence of seat belt use and identifies factors associated with nonuse of seat belts among long-haul truck drivers (LHTDs), a group of workers at high risk for fatalities resulting from truck crashes.

New Ebola Fact Sheets for Airport Workers

Airline and other airport workers may be at risk if they are exposed to infected people who have the signs and symptoms of Ebola. Workers are also at risk if they are directly exposed to the blood or other body fluids of a patient with Ebola or to objects such as needles that have been contaminated with infected body fluids. The fact sheet for airport workers including:

Factsheet for Airline Customer Service Representatives

Factsheet for Airport Retail and Food Service Workers

Factsheet for Airport Passenger Assistance Workers

Factsheet for Airport Custodial Staff

Factsheet for Airport Baggage and Cargo Handlers

View additional guidance and resources .

Obesity and Other Risk Factors: The National Survey of U.S. Long-Haul Truck Driver Health and Injury
In 2010, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), in partnership with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) of the Department of Transportation, initiated a survey to collect data about long-haul truck drivers' health and safety. This effort recognized a need for current, national estimates on work-related health and safety conditions in transportation workers, Data were collected during personal interviews with 1,265 long-haul drivers stopping at 32 different truck stops. The prevalence of selected health conditions and risk factors was determined and compared to national estimates from the 2010 U.S. adult working population of the 2010 National Health Interview Survey.

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