New York State Occupational Health Clinic Network Report: Key Updates 2004-2012

The New York State Occupational Health Clinic Network is unique in the United States as a partially-funded, statewide, public health-based network offering clinical and preventive occupational disease services. There are 11 clinics located throughout the state, including a Clinic specializing in agricultural safety and health. Since 1988, the Occupational Health Clinic Network has contributed to maintaining a healthy workforce in New York. Utilizing a public health approach, regionally-based clinics diagnose and treat occupational diseases and help improve working environments in New York State. The clinics also assist in meeting the goal in the New York State Department of Health Prevention Agenda 2013-2017 of reducing occupational injury and illness.

This report represents an update of a selected subset of figures from the initial New York State Occupational Health Clinic Report (1988-2003) to include data from 2004 through 2012. The initial report included detailed descriptions of patient demographics, types of diagnoses and likely etiologic agents responsible for causing or exacerbating medical conditions, as well as the types of industries and occupations of the patients seen with occupational exposures.

The current report provides updated data to better reflect current trends in diagnoses and exposures, and a more detailed description of data found in the original report. Properly identifying workplace hazards can be used to improve treatment and management of occupational diseases as well as prevent them from occurring. Data in this report will assist in identifying current occupational health needs in NYS as well as those being met by the Occupational Health Clinic Network.

Overview

  • Between 2004 and 2012, 28,090 new patients were seen in 110,376 visits.
  • Patients were seen from all counties in New York State, with most people residing in counties with large metropolitan areas.
  • There has been a shift in the occupations of the patients from the original report with a much higher percentage employed in public administration (31% vs. 22% previously), the services industry (27% vs. 23% previously), and fewer in construction trades (13% vs. 22%, previously). These shifts do not reflect changes seen in the New York State workforce.
  • Patients were primarily seen for diseases of the musculoskeletal system, respiratory system, and injuries and poisonings.
  • An increasing percentage of the patients were seen for ergonomic exposures (31% vs. 25% previously), including keyboard use and repetitive motion.
  • A quarter of the patients were evaluated for exposure to mineral and inorganic dusts, including asbestos, silica and non-specified dusts.

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