Study shows need to address transportation risks of older workers
The study's authors say their findings show the need to "further implement interventions that consider road safety risks specific to older workers."
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention analyzed data from the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries between 2003-10. They compared occupational highway transportation deaths among workers aged 18-54, 55-64, and 65 or older.
"Workers aged 65 and older had the highest overall fatality rate -- 3.1 highway transportation deaths per 100,000 full time equivalent workers per year, more than three times that of workers aged 18-54, 0.9 per 100,000 FTE workers," the report said. "This pattern held across demographic and occupational categories."
Among the older workers, the type of vehicle most often involved was an automobile, followed by tractor-trailer or pickup truck. A great proportion of deaths involved off-road and industrial vehicles.
"Employers, health professionals, and workers need to work together to reduce risks for injury and death from highway transportation crashes among older workers," the report says. "Recommended interventions to prevent crashes and injuries among older workers (e.g., trip planning, refresher driving training, and health screening and promotion) should be more widely disseminated and implemented."
The report identified "modifiable behavioral and environmental risk factors" such as long hours of work, fatigue, occupational stress, time pressure, distracted driving, and nonuse of seat belts. Additional interventions of particular benefit to all older drivers include:
- Selection and adaptation of vehicles to better accommodate them.
- Policies encouraging less driving overall, less nighttime driving, and alternative modes of transportation.
- Route and trip planning to reduce stress and fatigue.
- Refresher driver training.
- Providing information about medical conditions and medications known to affect driving ability.
By Nancy Grover
Read more at the WorkersComp Forum homepage.
October 14, 2013
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