Work-Related Car Accidents
Motor vehicle crashes kill more U.S. workers than any other workplace hazard, injury or illness.
Yet many of these accidents are preventable, as research by U.S. Centers for Disease Control's National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health shows.
In one study, which examined deadly accidents that occurred between 1007 and 2002, NIOSH found that fatally injured workers were not wearing a seat belt or had no seat belt available in their vehicle.
Many of the deadly accidents occurred because the driver ran off the road off the road or veered into another lane (46 percent), was speeding or driving too fast for conditions (23 percent), was not paying attention (11 percent), or was tired (7 percent).
Preventing Deadly Crashes
Aside from encouraging employees to drive safely, what can employers do to prevent deadly work-related car accidents? Quite a bit, actually.
NIOSH has issued two fact sheets that evaluate workers' risks for being involved in car crashes and offer tips for preventing deadly crashes. Driver safety can go a long way toward prevention, according to NIOSH. The agency recommends that employers' driving safety program.
Assign a key member of management to create and enforce a comprehensive driver safety policy
Require that all employees use seatbelts while driving or riding in a vehicle on the job
Select company vehicles that meet high safety and crash-test standards
Maintain complete and accurate records of driving performance.
Remind employees that driving requires full attention, meaning that drivers talk on their cell phones while driving or participate in any other distracting activities.
Set schedules that allow employees adequate time for deliveries or client visits
Ensure that employees are properly licensed and trained to operate the vehicle they are assigned.
Implement a vehicle maintenance program that includes pre-trip inspections, immediate withdrawal from service of any vehicle with mechanical defects, and regularly scheduled withdrawal of vehicles for comprehensive inspection and maintenance.
"Work-Related Roadway Crashes: Who's at Risk?" NIOSH safety tipsheets are available online. > downlaod here
Simple Safety Measures Can Protect Young Workers from Injuries
As summer approaches, many college students will be applying for part-time jobs and internships.
While they're earning money and gaining experience, young workers face the risk of being injured on the job. In fact, some research has shown that inexperienced workers are more likely to be injured than veteran workers.
Employers have an obligated to protect employees from harm and to train them on workplace safety measures. The Oregon Department of Consumer and Business Services, Occupational Safety and Health Division, provides an assist with a its "Young Workers' Brochure."
It's packed with safety tips and prevention measures that could save young lives this summer.
Be ready for accidents and emergencies:
- Know where the first-aid kit is located in your work area.
- Do not respond to an accident unless you are trained in first aid. If you are not trained to respond, know who the designated emergency responder is in your work area.
- Report any injury to a supervisor immediately.
- Know where the emergency exits are in your work area. Prevent cuts and lacerations:
- If you're handling a knife, always cut away from the body.
- If you do receive a cut, get first aid. All surfaces where blood may have spilled should be properly cleaned to protect you and others from blood-borne diseases.