Keeping Workers Safe on the RoadMillions of workers drive or ride in a motor vehicle as part of their jobs. Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of work-related injury deaths in the United States, accounting for 23,865 deaths from 2003–2015. These deaths have an impact on workers, their families, businesses, and communities. In 2013 alone, motor vehicle crashes at work cost U.S. employers $25 billion—$65,000 per nonfatal injury and $671,000 per death.
Crash risk affects workers in all industries and occupations, whether employees drive tractor-trailers, cars, pickup trucks, or emergency vehicles and whether driving is a primary or occasional part of the job. NIOSH is the only part of the U.S. federal government whose mission encompasses prevention of work-related motor vehicle crashes and resulting injuries for all worker populations. Other federal agencies have responsibilities and interest in motor vehicle safety for specific worker groups (e.g., truckers, fire fighters, law enforcement officers). The NIOSH Center for Motor Vehicle Safety’s goal is to ensure that those who work in or near vehicles come home safely at the end of their workday.
The Center recently assessed progress on its 2014–2018 strategic plan and sought public comment to guide future directions. Feedback will guide priorities through 2018 and inform the next strategic plan. A full midcourse review report is now available for download.
Other additions to the Center’s portfolio include:
- Behind the Wheel at Work: This quarterly eNewsletter, launched in December 2015, connects subscribers to subject-matter experts, exclusive interviews, research updates, practical tips on workplace driving, and links to NIOSH and partner resources.
- CDC Communications: NIOSH worked with CDC to create CDC Vital Signs: Trucker Safety. With the CDC Foundation, the Center developed CDC Business Pulse: Motor Vehicle Safety at Work, an interactive resource to help employers prevent work-related crashes through information on the human and economic impact of workplace crashes. Forbes featured this resource in a February 2017 guest op-ed by NIOSH’s Dr. Stephanie Pratt.
- Collaborative Road Safety Communications: The Center works with other NIOSH programs and external partners—such as the Network of Employers for Traffic Safety and National Safety Council (NSC)—on activities ranging from blog posts to Twitter chats to cross-promotion of resources. For example, at NSC’s request, the Center developed a blog post for mycardoeswhat.org explaining the value of multimedia materials available on that site for educating workers about advanced safety features on their vehicles.
- Fact Sheet: The Center published Older Drivers in the Workplace: How Employers and Workers Can Prevent Crashes.
- GIF: To reach audiences with engaging content, the Center developed NIOSH’s first animated GIF that is specific to distracted driving.
- Infographic: This infographic answers the question: Why does workplace motor vehicle safety matter? It covers information that is important for human resources or safety professionals to make a business case for workplace motor vehicle safety programs.
Too little sleep is more common in some occupations than in others. There are significant differences in short sleep duration—less than seven hours a night—among occupational groups, according to a CDC study published today in CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. This is the first study to evaluate short sleep duration in more than 90 detailed occupation groups and across multiple states. Learn more.
In March, NIOSH began once again offering a series of free, confidential health screenings to coal miners as part of the Coal Workers’ Health Surveillance Program. The screenings are intended to provide early detection of coal workers’ pneumoconiosis, also known as black lung, a serious but preventable occupational lung disease in coal miners caused by breathing respirable coal mine dust. Learn more.
The NIOSH Center for Motor Vehicle Safety is recognizing Distracted Driving Awareness Month throughout April. Access the Center’s recently updated Distracted Driving at Work webpage, which now includes a Spanish version of our distracted driving GIF to use on Twitter. Follow @NIOSH_MVSafety on Twitter for safe-driving tips.
NIOSH’s new, free web tool—Safety Pays in Mining—offers mining companies information on the cost of injury claims, as well as a few suggestions on how that same money might be spent in other ways. Preventing injuries saves workers from pain and disability, but it also helps companies save money that could be put toward other expenditures. Safety Pays in Mining displays not only distributions of direct costs for specific injuries, but also an estimate of indirect costs stemming from the incident, including overtime for other workers to fill an injured worker’s role, training costs for a replacement worker, and time spent using administrative resources to address the injury. Seeing the cost of injuries spelled out in dollars may help companies see that in mining, investing in safety pays.
NIOSH announces the availability of a draft web-based database called PPE-Info for public comment. NIOSH developed the database in 2012 and is requesting the public’s comments to help update its database. Comments are due by April 13.
NIOSH announces the availability of a draft Current Intelligence Bulletin entitled The NIOSH Occupational Exposure Banding Process: Guidance for the Evaluation of Chemical Hazards for public comment. NIOSH is seeking comments on the draft document until June 13. A public meeting will be held to discuss the document on Tuesday, May 23. This is a new tool to protect workers from workplace chemicals without occupational exposure limits (OELs). Currently, the rate at which new chemicals are being introduced into commerce significantly outpaces OEL development, creating a need for guidance on the risk on thousands of chemicals that lack evidence-based exposure limits. This NIOSH docket, including the draft document and more information about the public meeting, is available at here. The Regulations.gov docket, for the submission of public comments, is available at www.regulations.gov. Enter CDC-2017-0028 in the search field and click “Search.”
NIOSH is honored to have an image (shown at right) of black coke oven workers published in The Journal of African American History. The Division of Surveillance, Hazard Evaluations and Field Studies provided the photo, which appeared in “Gateway to Hell”: African American Coking Workers, Racial Discrimination, and the Struggle against Occupational Cancer, by Alan V. Derickson. Derickson, professor of Labor Studies and History at Penn State University. Derickson sharpens focus on the history of mid-twentieth-century African American steel workers who, due to racial discrimination, were disproportionately consigned to topside coke oven work and thus disproportionately experienced workplace economic and health and safety inequalities, including occupational cancers. Derickson’s original research brings to the forefront black coke workers’ leadership for positive changes, including their crucial role in the creation of the NIOSH Criteria for a Recommended Standard: Occupational Exposure to Coke Oven Emissions, 1973.
NIOSH posted a new topic page on occupational exposure banding in conjunction with the public release of the draft NIOSH Current Intelligence Bulletin: Guidance for the Evaluation of Chemical Hazards and the Federal Register notice requesting public comments on the draft document. This topic page provides useful resources and information about the proposed occupational exposure banding process. The webpage is available at: https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/oeb/default.html