6th Annual New York State Occupational Health Awareness and Education Day on March 10 Noted by Commissioners Daines and Smith

ALBANY, N.Y. (March 9, 2009) – Maintaining a safe work environment is the goal behind the sixth annual New York State Occupational Health Awareness and Education Day, held this year on Tuesday, March 10. The New York State Departments of Health and Labor offer programs that diagnose and treat work-related disease, screen workers at increased risk for certain occupational diseases, evaluate workplace hazards and promote prevention activities.

"Resources are available across the state to prevent, reduce and treat work-related injuries and illnesses," said State Health Commissioner Richard F. Daines, M.D. These programs fit into the Health Department's Prevention Agenda for the Healthiest State by providing access to quality health care along with developing a healthy work environment for all workers.

The Department of Health targets the identification and prevention of heavy metals poisonings/exposure, pesticide poisonings, occupational lung disease, as well as asbestos safety, and a specialized network of occupational health clinics.

The New York State Occupational Health Clinic Network (OHCN) is the nation's only state-based occupational health clinic network and is comprised of regionally based clinics and one with a focus on agricultural medicine. The network was created in 1987 to offer specialized medical diagnoses, high-quality care and support services for workers with occupational (work-related) illnesses.

The OHCN uses multidisciplinary teams of physicians, industrial hygienists, health educators and social workers. The Network offers consultation and advice to employees, employers, employee groups and health care professionals on steps that can reduce worker injury and illness. The OHCN works with the employers and/or unions to identify unsafe conditions, evaluate the risks to workers, and methods to eliminate or reduce the risks.

Each clinic accepts public and private medical insurance as well as Worker's Compensation reimbursement. Clinics use a sliding fee scale, and no worker is denied care because of a lack of resources. More information about the clinics is available at http://www.nyhealth.gov/environmental/workplace/clinic_network.htm.

The Department of Labor also offers employers and employees safety and health training and awareness programs designed to help them identify and eliminate workplace risks.

"We continue to partner with state agencies to find better ways to protect New York's workers while on the job, and to keep the state's work-related injury rate the lowest on record," said State Labor Commissioner M. Patricia Smith.

The Labor Department's Division of Safety and Health provides free on-site workplace risk assessments to private and public sector employers to determine compliance with Federal and state safety and health standards and to eliminate any hazards that may be found. Last year, its On-Site Consultation Bureau conducted more than 2,000 on-site inspections that identified and corrected more than 11,000 safety and health hazards. This effort aided in the protection of more than 200,000 private-sector employees.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics' annual Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses for 2007 reported 181,100 private-sector, work-related injuries and illnesses in New York State. These injuries and illnesses occurred at a rate of 3.1 per 100 full-time workers, well below the national average rate of 4.2.

New York posted 73,600 injuries and illnesses for public state and local government workers. The work-related injury and illness rate of 7.8 per 100 full-time workers was the second-lowest total rate for the public sector since 1992.

More information on the Labor Department's safety and health resources is available at: http://www.labor.state.ny.us/workerprotection/safetyhealth/DOSH_PROGRAMS.shtm. Its Division of Safety and Health is available at (518) 457-2238 and at http://www.labor.state.ny.us/workerprotection/safetyhealth/DOSH_DIRECTORY.shtm

Clinic Locations

Western New York Region

  • Union Occupational Health Center

Finger Lakes Region

Central New York Region

Southern Tier Region

Adirondack Region

Mid-Hudson / Eastern New York Region

  • Occupational and Environmental Health Center of Eastern New York affiliated with GHI

Lower Hudson Valley Region

  • Mt. Sinai-IJ Selikoff Center for Occupational and Environmental Medicine affiliated with Mt. Sinai School of Medicine
    914-964-4737 – Hudson Valley/Yonkers Clinical Center

New York City

Long Island Region

Specialty Agricultural Clinic

  • New York Center for Agricultural Medicine and Health affiliated with Bassett Hospital