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Last updated: September 3, 2019

What Does Collision Mean?

A collision, also referred to as a crash, refers to an event wherein two or more physical bodies exert force on each other over a relatively short time period.

In occupational health terms, collisions typically refer to a those involving one or more vehicles, especially automobiles. Occupational vehicle collisions can include both traffic-related collisions (those involving public roads) and non-traffic-related collisions (such as those occurring in workplace settings or involving a specialized mode of travel).

Safeopedia Explains Collision

The National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) reports that between 2003 and 2014 there were 22,000 work-related motor vehicle deaths in the United States. This constitutes 20 percent of all workplace fatal injuries, and it averages to about three deaths per day.

Deaths due to vehicular collision are a significant occupational safety risk in most jurisdictions. They are the leading cause of traumatic workplace fatality in many jurisdictions, including the United States. In Australia, they are responsible for 39 percent of workplace deaths.

Forty-three percent of vehicle collisions involved in workplace fatalities involve a collision with an object other than another moving vehicle. Twenty-three percent involve colliding with pedestrians. The total yearly cost to U.S. employers of injuries and fatalities due to work-related motor vehicle collisions is $25 billion per year. Approximately half (51 percent) of fatal work collisions occurred on highways, and the majority of these occurred on dry roadways and during normal weather conditions.

The two agencies in the United States that hold primary responsibility for setting and enforcing motor vehicle safety standards applicable to occupational use are the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The FHWA has issued specific standards for commercial vehicle use, while the NHTSA has relevant safety standards that are applicable to all drivers. Safety standards for vehicle usage in particular work environments are set by other agencies; for instance, OSHA issues the applicable standards for the use of vehicles on a construction site.


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