Draft Research Agenda Addresses Elevated Burden of Injuries, Deaths in Transportation

Published December 6, 2017

​NIOSH’s new draft National Occupational Research Agenda (NORA) for Transportation, Warehousing, and Utilities identifies transportation-related incidents as one of the leading causes of injuries, illnesses, and fatalities in the sector. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 30 percent of all transportation incidents in 2015 occurred in the TWU sector, the highest percentage of any industry sector. The greatest burden of transportation-related incidents resulting in fatalities is in the truck transportation sub-sector, which recorded 546 worker deaths in 2015. The draft agenda, which is intended to identify the most important occupational safety and health research needs for the decade spanning 2016–2026, notes that addressing this elevated burden of injuries and deaths requires a multi-faceted public health approach, including comprehensive injury surveillance to identify TWU populations that are at greatest risk.

Specific to the truck transportation sub-sector, the draft agenda identifies the need for increased implementation and evaluation of collision avoidance technologies, the evaluation and implementation of interventions (fatigue management programs, for example) into company procedures, and research on the impacts of economic pressures, scheduling, and non-standard work arrangements on crashes and injuries of truck transportation workers.

Other areas identified for further research and improvement include musculoskeletal disorders among TWU workers, TWU worker exposures and adverse health outcomes, effective prevention and control strategies, and the safety implications of emerging technologies. Fatigue, slip and fall injuries, and new technology were common themes among the draft agenda’s 10 strategic objectives.

The draft National Occupational Research Agenda for Transportation, Warehousing, and Utilities is available as a PDF in the docket on Regulations.gov. NIOSH invites comments on the draft agenda through Jan. 30, 2018. Instructions for submitting comments are available in the Federal Register notice.

NORA is a partnership program that was created in 1996 to identify and address critical issues in workplace health and safety. Transportation, warehousing, and utilities is one of 10 sector groups based on major areas of the U.S. economy. Learn more on NIOSH’s website.