Occupational Health Surveillance Program
What is Occupational Health Surveillance?
Occupational health surveillance provides information on where, how and why workers get sick or hurt on the job. This information is used to improve worker health and safety through appropriate prevention activities. Workplace injuries and illnesses can be prevented by control or elimination of hazards.
How Can Surveillance Lead to Prevention?
The New York State Department of Health is committed to the prevention of workplace injuries, illnesses and fatalities. Surveillance is conducted for a number of public health programs to identify occupational illnesses and then develop and provide outreach and prevention services.
The Occupational Health Surveillance program has epidemiologists, evaluators and outreach specialists that conduct the following activities:
- Track patterns of work-related injury, illness and fatalities in order to quantify and describe the occupational disease burden in New York State.
- Investigate and intervene in situations with an ongoing risk of exposure by referring cases to the Industrial Hygiene Consultation program for technical assistance.
- Develop and implement interventions that will reduce the risk of exposures in the future.
- Monitor both the immediate and long-term health effects of occupational exposure.
- Educate the medical community about adverse health effects from occupational exposures.
- Collaborate with partners to identify methods to modify work practices and share this information with companies that have similar exposures.
- Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists Occupational Health
New York State Department of Health participates with the Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists Occupational Health Work Group. This group has developed a series of occupational health indicators and meets to discuss broader occupational health issues encountered by state health departments.
- National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Surveillance
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health is the federal agency responsible for conducting research and making recommendations for the prevention of work-related disease and injury. NIOSH supports a number of surveillance efforts involving public health practice by the New York State Department of Health.
- New York State Department of Labor
The New York State Department of Labor enforces state labor laws to ensure fair wages for all workers and protect the safety and health of workers and the public. They provide temporary financial assistance for the unemployed, and connect job seekers with employers.
- Occupational Safety and Health Administration
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is the federal agency responsible for setting and enforcing standards; and providing training, outreach and education.
What Occupational Health Surveillance Activities are Conducted in New York State?
The Occupational Health Surveillance program oversees a number of registries and programs.
Occupational Health Indicators
Statewide and county-level occupational health indicators have been developed and can be used to describe the occupational health picture in New York State.
The US Department of Labor sponsored Census for Occupational Injuries program is a data collection program while the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health sponsored Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation program conducts site visits and makes recommendations for preventing future injuries.
Occupational Health Registries
Part 22 of the State Sanitary Code requires three disease registries which collect information on any New York State resident or employee identified with certain diseases or exposures. Cases reported to the registries are interviewed to determine the source of exposure. Educational information is provided with each interview.
- Heavy Metals Registry
Laboratories and health care providers are required to report all blood lead results performed on New York State residents and employees, along with reportable levels of mercury, arsenic and cadmium.
- Pesticide Poisoning Registry
Health care providers and clinical laboratories are required to report all pesticide poisonings occurring in New York State.
- Occupational Lung Disease Registry
Health care providers are required to report all occupational lung diseases occurring in New York State. Occupational lung diseases include, but are not limited to: asbestosis, silicosis, work-related asthma, and hypersensitivity pneumonitis.
New York State Occupational Health Clinic Network
The network of occupational health clinics assist workers and employers in New York State by appropriately diagnosing occupational diseases, helping workers return to work quickly and safely, and by providing training and education. The Clinics are also a resource for health care providers treating patients with potential work-related illnesses. The clinics are located through the State and are available to all workers, retirees and residents in New York State. No patient is turned away because of an inability to pay.