Cincinnati, OH: 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. 2011-193, 2011 Aug; :1-2
School crossing guards play an important role in the safety of children in route to school, yet these workers are at risk for traumatic injuries. From 1993-2008, 120 crossing guards died on the job in the U.S. In the same period, the New Jersey Fatality Assessment & Control Evaluation (NJ FACE) program in the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services (NJDHSS) identified 14 NJ school crossing guard fatalities. All 14 incidents involved local government employees struck by motor vehicles. Additionally, the number of nonfatal occupational injuries and illnesses involving days away from work for NJ crossing guards totaled 892, 14% of which were motor vehicle-related. The majority of the nonfatal injuries were slips, trips, and falls resulting in sprains, strains, and fractures. After NJ FACE - funded by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) - investigated a fatality of a school crossing guard, a statewide occupational health surveillance intervention project was initiated to prevent motor vehicle-related injuries and raise awareness of the occupation's hazards. NJ school crossing guards are employed and trained by the municipality's police department; hence, a key partner was the NJ Association of Chiefs of Police. Other stakeholders included the NJ State League of Municipalities, the NJ State Safety Council, the NJ Safe Routes to School Coalition, the NJDHSS Public Employees Occupational Safety and Health Program, and the NJ Municipal Excess Liability, a governmental risk-management organization with interest in crossing guard safety. NJ FACE developed a hazard alert titled Crossing Guards - Be Seen, Be Safe which included local and national injury data, job and safety training requirements, recommended and required personal protective equipment (PPE), safe work practice recommendations, and a compelling case study. All partners reviewed and endorsed the alert. An educational packet was mailed to all 534 NJ police departments with the alert and a survey designed to collect surveillance data and solicit feedback.