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Oregon OSHA - 350 Winter Street NE Room 430 - Salem, Oregon 97301-3882
For Immediate Release
September 26, 2007
Contact for more Information:
Kevin Weeks, Public Information Officer, 503-947-7428

Oregon OSHA launches workplace motor vehicle safety campaign

Motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of work deaths

(Salem) - Oregon OSHA today announced a new multi-faceted campaign aimed at reducing the number of Oregon workers killed or injured in motor vehicle accidents.

Motor vehicle-related incidents are the leading cause of work-related deaths in the United States. One-third of Oregon workplace deaths in 2006 tracked by the state workers' compensation system were due to motor vehicle incidents. And the trend is not just in Oregon: Between 1992 and 2001, 13,337 people died in work-related roadway crashes in the United States.

"Motor vehicles present the single largest hazard that all workers are exposed to," said Michael Wood, administrator of Oregon OSHA, a division of the Department of Consumer and Business Services. "There is no single quick fix for the situation. Employers who take steps to address safe vehicle operations, driver training, and keeping vehicles in good running order will make a positive contribution to Oregon's health."

Oregon OSHA's motor vehicle safety campaign will begin Oct. 1 and is expected to last several years. The goal of the campaign is to help Oregon employers with identifying hazards related to motor vehicle use, safe vehicle operation, driver training, and vehicle maintenance. Oregon OSHA is committing resources from several program areas in the effort:

Prevention - Oregon OSHA safety and health consultants will encourage businesses receiving a confidential safety and health consultation to adopt policies and programs that address driver and vehicle safety into their business plan. Consultants will provide information and resources to help employers establish or improve vehicle safety programs.

Enforcement - During worksite inspections, Oregon OSHA safety and health enforcement staff will determine if employers have motor vehicle safety policies or procedures, policies addressing safe vehicle operations and driver training, and a routine vehicle inspection program. Oregon OSHA does not currently have rules requiring a motor vehicle safety program, however staff will offer recommendations for improving safety.

Education - Oregon OSHA will present a new workshop, "Motor Vehicles: Planning and Safe Practices," in several Oregon cities during 2007-2008 to inform employers and workers about designing an effective workplace vehicle safety program. The workshop will offer examples of best practices in motor vehicle safety and provide participants with the tools needed to develop effective vehicle safety programs.

Research - Studying data and analyzing trends is an important part of the multi-year effort. Enforcement and consultation staff will gather data regarding employee use of vehicles for business, workplace vehicle safety procedures, and recent workplace motor vehicle incidents. The data will be used to identify key trends in motor vehicle safety for Oregon workplaces and measure the program's effectiveness.

The enforcement and consultation staffs will evaluate employers' policies and procedures related to motor vehicles designed for use on public roads; the campaign does not apply to equipment exempt from licensing, off-road recreational vehicles (including ATVs and snowmobiles), farm equipment, and road construction equipment.

"We're asking for the public's help to battle this problem," says Wood. "First, everyone on the road can help by being a safe and responsible driver. Second, employers have a responsibility for making sure they have provided their employees a safe worksite, even if that worksite is in motion. Third, we need employers and employees to work together to create solutions that reduce injuries."

Additional information about the motor vehicle safety campaign is available on the Oregon OSHA Web site, www.orosha.org. Members of the public are encouraged to send their ideas and suggestions about combating motor vehicle injuries to web.osha@state.or.us - tell us about programs that have worked, ideas to share with other employers, or feedback about the motor vehicle safety campaign.

(Source information for data: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, DCBS Information Management Division, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health)

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Oregon OSHA, a division of the Department of Consumer & Business Services, enforces the state’s workplace safety and health rules and works to improve workplace safety and health for all Oregon workers. For more information, go to www.orosha.org.

The Department of Consumer and Business Services is Oregon’s largest business regulatory and consumer protection agency. For more information, visit www.dcbs.oregon.gov.