According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, vehicle-related accidents are the leading cause of work-related deaths in the U.S. Out of all workplace fatalities, 36% involved a motor vehicle. In addition to the tragic loss of life, motor vehicle accidents have an economic impact, costing employers an average of $500,000 per incident. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates the total annual economic impact to be around $60 million. To lower those numbers and protect workers, this May, CDC's National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) recently released a strategic plan for research and prevention of workplace related motor vehicle injuries and death. This will be a four year initiative.
Vision of the NIOSH Center for Motor Vehicle Safety
NIOSH launched the Center for Motor Vehicle Safety in 2010 with the specific goal of preventing work-related motor vehicle accidents. The organization's research revolves around: preventing crashes on public highways; protecting workers operating vehicles off highways or on industrial premises; and ensuring the safety of pedestrian workers that are put at risk because they work around motor vehicles. NIOSH works with partners throughout the public and private sector to research safety methods and procedures. NIOSH Director John Howard, M.D. explained the strategic plan "gives the Center the flexibility to address emerging issues along with longstanding safety concerns."
Highlights of the Strategic Plan
The strategic plan outlines five key areas of focus for preventing work-related vehicle accidents.
- Promote an advanced understanding of the risks associated with working around motor vehicles through in-depth cause-and-effect research.
- Increase safety through engineering and technology-based interventions.
- Encourage the use of comprehensive, evidence-based safety policies.
- Work with global partners to advance safety policies internationally.
- Ensure clear guidance and informational products about safety and prevention are readily available.
The above are only broad areas of focus. The actual strategic plan is 35 pages of detailed actionable steps. If your company has employees that drive or work around motor vehicles, we highly recommend reviewing the NIOSH document (DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 2014–122.
Emilcott has been assisting employers ensure the safety of their employees for over 25 years, including vehicle and fleet safety. Contact us to learn more.