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Work-related roadway crashes - challenges and opportunities for prevention.

Morgantown, WV: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 2003-119, 2003 Sep; :1-92
In the United States, roadway crashes are the leading cause of death from unintentional injury in the general population and also in the workplace, where they accounted for 1,347 (23.5%) civilian worker deaths in 2000. This document provides an overview of current issues affecting work-related roadway crashes and focuses on preventing injuries and fatalities to vehicle drivers and passengers. No single satisfactory source of data exists for worker injuries and fatalities resulting from vehicle-related roadway crashes. Specialized data systems for work-related fatalities may identify high proportions of cases but lack necessary detail about the circumstances and risk factors surrounding vehicle-related crashes. On the other hand, systems designed to collect information about all vehicle-related crashes contain more pertinent data elements but may not determine the work status of persons involved in crashes. Data from the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI), a program of the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), indicate that 11,952 work-related highway fatalities of civilian workers occurred during 1992-2000, with an average annual rate of 1.08 deaths per 100,000 full-time equivalent (FTE) workers. These fatalities increased in number by 18.7% from 1992 to 2000 and were the leading cause of occupational fatalities throughout the period. CFOI data indicate that workers employed in the Transportation, Communications, and Public Utilities industry division, which includes commercial trucking, were at highest risk of fatality. Those employed in transportation and material moving occupations (truck drivers in particular) had far higher fatality rates than workers in any other occupation group. Fatality risk varied across age groups; workers aged 65 or older had more than three times the fatality risk of workers of all ages, and workers aged 20 or younger (who might be expected to have lower levels of exposure to vehicles in the workplace) had fatality rates that were similar to those for workers of all ages. According to CFOI data, collisions between vehicles accounted for nearly half the fatal events, followed by noncollision events (e.g., loss of control, rollover) and collisions in which the worker's vehicle left the roadway and struck a stationary object on the roadside. Workers who were occupants of trucks accounted for 58% of all fatalities; nearly half of these were semi-truck occupants. However, crashes involving semi-trucks affect workers in vehicles that collide with semi-trucks as well as pedestrian workers. In recent years, sharp increases in the number of large trucks on the road and in the number of vehicle miles traveled by large trucks have been accompanied by an increase in the number of fatalities involving these vehicles. Although rates of fatal crash involvement for large trucks (number of vehicles involved per 100 million vehicle miles traveled) declined from 3.8 to 2.6 between 1988 and 1992, they have shown little improvement since that time. Concerns about motor vehicle safety in the workplace are by no means limited to those surrounding the operation of large trucks. Workers outside the motor carrier industry routinely operate company-owned vehicles for deliveries, sales and repair calls, client visits, and countless other job tasks. In these instances, the employer providing the vehicle generally plays a major role in setting safety, maintenance, and training policy. However, when a worker drives a personal vehicle for work purposes, the employer may have little or no control over vehicle maintenance and selection. The special needs of all three types of operating environments-the motor carrier industry, other vehicle fleets, and personal vehicles used for work purposes-must be considered by companies and policy makers when formulating safety policy.
Accident-prevention; Injury-prevention; Statistical-analysis; Truck-drivers; Drivers; Motor-vehicles; Traumatic-injuries; Accident-rates; Accident-statistics; Statistical-analysis; Transportation-industry; Transportation-workers; Age-factors; Age-groups; Regulations; Fatigue; Safety-belts; Transportation
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DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 2003-119
NIOSH Division
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National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division