Priority Area: Healthy Environment - Occupational Health

Workplace Injury

The NYSDOH is committed to the prevention of workplace illnesses, injuries 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. Workplace injuries and illnesses can be prevented by control or elimination of hazards.

Objectives

  • By the year 2013, reduce New York's incidence of elevated lead levels (defined as >25 ug/dl) in employed persons ages 16+ to less than 1.0 per 100,000 employed. Baseline: 6.4 per 100,000, NYS Heavy Metals Registry, 2003-2005.
  • By the year 2013, reduce the work-related hospitalization rate for employed New Yorkers age 16+ to no more than 11.5 per 10,000 employees. Baseline: 15.3 per 10,000 employees, SPARCS, 2003-2005.
  • By the year 2013, reduce the incidence of fatal work-related injuries in the New York workforce to less than 1.0 deaths per 100,000 workers. Baseline: 2.6 deaths per 100,000 employees, SPARCS, 2003.
  • By the year 2013, decrease the incidence of injured responders who were not wearing respiratory protection at the time of injury to 50%. Baseline: 72%, HSEES, 2006.

Indicators For Tracking Public Health Priority Areas

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.

Hazardous Substances Emergency Events Surveillance (HSEES)

The New York State Department of Health collects information on non-petroleum hazardous substances spills/releases as part of a federal program. This information is regularly analyzed to identify both unique problems and patterns that contribute to spills/releases and illnesses and injuries from these releases.

Responder Injuries in New York

Data and Statistics

CDC's Worker Health Chartbook
A descriptive epidemiologic reference on occupational morbidity and mortality in the U.S. A resource for agencies, organizations, employers, researchers, workers, and others who need to know about occupational injuries and illnesses.
CSTE Occupational Indicators
19 indicators that describe the occupational health of the working population from 16 states and the United States from 2000 and 2003. Contains information relating to the distribution of employment as well as the number and rate of work-related injuries and illnesses within each state.
Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries & Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses
A compilation of state data presenting the number and rate of fatal and non-fatal injuries and illnesses provided by the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics. Data are available by demographic characteristics, event, and industry for fatalities and industry alone for non-fatal injuries and illnesses.

The NYSDOH receives reports of all blood lead tests performed on state residents, along with reportable levels of mercury, arsenic and cadmium. Once the reports are received, registry staff determine the source of exposure, with interviews conducted for any adult with a blood lead level greater than or equal to 25 ug/dl or with an elevated report of any of the other heavy metals. Information is provided to exposed individuals and employers on reducing hazards and eliminating exposure. Where it appears that family members (especially children) may be exposed, a recommendation is made for biological monitoring and reduction of exposure and the local health unit it contacted, if applicable.

NYS Heavy Metals Registry Annual Report, 2000-2005:

New York State Office of Fire Prevention and Control. 2008. Firefighter Death and Injury Statistics: US and NY State 2007 and 2008 .

Hazardous Substances Emergency Events Surveillance (HSEES). 2001. Responder Injuries in New York, 1993-2000.

Welles, W. L. and R. E. Wilburn. 2001. Hazardous Substances Emergency Events Surveillance (HSEES) in New York State, 1993 to 1997. Chem. Health & Safety 8(1) Suppl. 1, Jan-Feb, 42-52.(PDF, 11pp.,8.4MB)

Welles, W. L. and R. E. Wilburn. 2002. Responder Injuries in New York State, 1993-2000. The SERC Reporter 13(1), 9 (Spring)(PDF, 4pp.,407KB). New York State Emergency Management Office. Albany, NY.

Welles WL, Wilburn RE, Ehrlich JK and Floridia CM. New York Hazardous Substances Emergency Events: Learning from Hazardous Substances Releases to Improve Safety. Journal of Hazardous Materials 2004, 115: 39-49.(PDF, 11pp.,397KB)

Strategies – The Evidence Base for Effective Interventions

The NYS Occupational Injury/Illness Priority Index
An occupational injury/illness priority index has been created using NYS hospital discharge data and US Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics data. Numeric ranks for the number of cases and incidence rates were calculated and sorted in ascending order.
Lead Hazards and Solutions
Information from OSHA on the control of lead exposure in the workplace.

The U.S. Fire Administration has identified “... heart attack, overexertion and strain causing more firefighter deaths and injuries than any other cause...” .

Compromised breathing underlies each of those exhibited causes. As stated in the Executive Summary of the U.S. Department of Commerce report, "There should be no compromises on using protective equipment, including SCBA.' (The Economic Consequences of Firefighter Injuries and Their Prevention. Final Report, p.iii).

National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health. 2007. Preventing Fire Fighter Fatalities Due to Heart Attacks and Other Sudden Cardiovascular Events.

Welles WL, Wilburn RE, Ehrlich JK and Floridia CM. New York Hazardous Substances Emergency Events: Learning from Hazardous Substances Releases to Improve Safety. Journal of Hazardous Materials 2004, 115: 39-49.(PDF, 11pp.,397KB)

Return on Investment

Recommendations for Medical Management of Adult Lead Exposure

Reducing or eliminating firefighter exposure to hazardous substances at hazmat events is important from a public health perspective because some of these substances are known to be toxic, and others have not been studied or even identified. Lack of respiratory protection among firefighters during hazmat events can potentially cause repeated or cumulative injuries that may increase a firefighter's risk of health effects. Increased use of respiratory protection is likely to save firefighters' lives and decrease health costs.

National Institute of Standards and Technology. 2005. The Economic Consequences of Firefighter Injuries and Their Prevention. Final Report. NIST GCR 05-874. U.S. Department of Commerce.

Resources

Lead on the Job
A guide for employers
Lead Exposure in Adults
A guide for health care providers
Lead on the Job
A guide for workers
Lead safety at shooting ranges
Health Hazard Evaluations - Occupational Exposure to Lead
Preventing lead poisoning in construction workers
Confined Space Awareness Training:Preventing Death and Injuries to Public Workers
Preventing Deaths and Injuries to Public Workers While Working Around Mobile Equipment
Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation (FACE) Program
New York State Case Reports
Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation (FACE) Program
NIOSH In-house Case Reports
U.S. Department of Labor. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Regulations (Standards – CFR). Respiratory Protection – 1910.134.
De Lisi, S. 2008. Hazmat Survival Tips. Fire Engineering Magazine.
U.S. Fire Administration. 1997. Uses of NFIRS
The Many Uses of the National Fire Incident Reporting System. Federal Emergency Management Agency.
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. 1997. Health and Environmental Effects of Particulate Matter. Updated 11/2007.
New York State Department of Health. 2007. Fine Particles (PM 2.5) Questions and Answers.
Welles WL and Wilburn RE. Breathe Easy: Preventing Firefighter Injuries in Hazmat Events. SIZE UP 2008Issue 2: 32-36. (PDF, 5pp.,1.14MB)

More Information

Center for Environmental Health
New York State Department of Health
547 River Street, Room 316
Troy, NY 12180
Environmental Health Information Line: 1-800-458-1158
email: CEHEDUC@health.state.ny.us