Journal of Ergonomics Research

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Road Traffic Safety for International Workforce-Can Employer’s Policy Make a Difference?

Background: Road traffic crashes pose a great threat to global health. In 2010, 1.3 million people died in road crashes and up to 50 million were injured. The burden is heavily skewed with low- and middle-income countries being affected the most. Road safety is an occupational health problem for many international organizations and it is of paramount interest to prevent deaths and injuries due to road traffic crashes. The aim of this study was to investigate possible effects of a road safety policy implementation within the organization by analyzing event rates (crashes and near-crashes), risk behavior among the staff, and possible gender differences.

Methods: The study was conducted at the Health Services Department of an international organization in Washington D.C. United States. An electronic road safety survey was delivered to staff in 2008 (S1) and consequently a road safety policy was developed and implemented globally. A second survey (S2) was distributed 9 years later (2017). Questions on events and health behavior included in these surveys were analyzed and compared in order to investigate possible effects of the road safety policy implementation.

Results: The number of crashes per 1000 mission-days was reduced from 0.9 to 0.7 and the number of near-crashes per 1000 mission-days from 13 to 10.6. The travel adjusted event rates were highest in low-income countries followed by middle-income countries. High-income countries had a considerably lower risk. Seatbelt use among staff has greatly improved (from 70% to 86% stating they always use seatbelts when available and functional). While traffic deaths have increased in developing countries over the past 9 years, the risk for staff at this international organization has decreased significantly with no gender difference.

Conclusion: The findings show significant improvement of road safety for the staff at the international organization compatible with policy impact.

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