NIOSH Creating Truckers' Health and Safety Survey

NIOSH wants public input for the next two months on a national survey it is creating to assess truck drivers' health and safety. The survey will ask about sleep disorders, fatigue, working conditions, and non-fatal injuries to "gain a better understanding of how these risk factors contribute to health and safety," the agency announced Nov. 1.

"This is an important step in gaining a better understanding of the complex factors that may affect truckers’ risks for injury and illness," said NIOSH Director Dr. John Howard. "Having this sound scientific understanding is a key aspect of all NIOSH research as we work to address the occupational safety and health issues faced by this high-risk worker population." NIOSH held a public meeting Nov. 1 in Chicago and seeks comments through Jan. 2, 2008 at www.cdc.gov/niosh/review/public/110/default.html.

Truckers are at a disproportionately high risk for fatal crash-related injuries and for serious health disorders, but exactly why -- whether fatigue or other job-related factors are responsible -- and how to solve this are not completely clear, according to NIOSH, which says there are more than 7 million U.S. workers in the transportation, warehousing, and utilities sector, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Truck transportation accounted for 585 deaths in 2005, which represented 10 percent of all occupational fatalities in the United States that year.

NIOSH is also conducting at least two other studies of truckers. One will identify causes of death for which truck drivers have a higher proportion of deaths than the general population, and the other is collecting data on the body dimensions of truck drivers and on the dimensions of truck cabs so more ergonomically efficient cabs can be designed. To find out more about NIOSH's work in this area, visit www.cdc.gov/niosh/programs/twu/.

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