Research/studies Construction

Some workers not buckling up, CDC says

diver putting on seatbelt

Photo: andresr/iStockphoto

Atlanta – Workers in states that lack a primary seat belt law are less likely to buckle up, despite transportation-related incidents being the leading cause of work-related deaths, according to a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

A primary seat belt law allows law enforcement to pull over and ticket a driver for not wearing a seat belt. Secondary belt laws allow law enforcement to ticket an unbelted driver only if that driver has been pulled over for another offense.

For the report, researchers examined data on nearly 85,000 adult workers in 21 states from the 2013 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System. More than half of respondents (64 percent) lived in states with primary seat belt laws, and 36 percent of respondents lived in states with secondary seat belt laws.

For all occupational groups, prevalence of workers who reported “not always” using a seat belt was more than double in states with secondary seat belt laws (23.6 percent) than in states with primary seat belt laws (10.4 percent). The industries with the highest prevalence of infrequent seat belt use were construction and extraction (14.1 percent); legal (14 percent); installation, maintenance and repair (12.8 percent); protective services (12.7 percent); and farming, fishing and forestry (12.7 percent).

“It is possible that not enough attention has been directed toward promoting seat belt use among the 14 million workers in these broad categories because driving is not their primary job duty,” researchers wrote. They recommend that employers require consistent seat belt use by all vehicle occupations, and that safety advocates focus target interventions to worker groups with the lowest seat belt use.

The report was published in the June 17 issue of CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

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