206333 Mortality surveillance strategies and study results for a cohort of U.S. petroleum company men and women

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Wendy Huebner, PhD , Epidemiology & Health Surveillance Section, ExxonMobil Biomedical Sciences, Inc., Annandale, NJ
Nancy C. Wojcik, MS , Epidemiology & Health Surveillance Section, ExxonMobil Biomedical Sciences, Inc., Annandale, NJ
This petroleum company has surveillance programs to study overall mortality patterns and trends among workers in North America. This is possible because of the availability of public data systems in the U.S. and Canada that allow a complete accounting of deaths among former and current employees and stable population death rates for comparisons. We recently completed a cohort mortality study of almost 177,000 U.S.-based men and women who contributed close to three million person-years of observation during a 22-year period (1979-2000). The cohort is unique in its high proportion of relatively more recent employees; this allows us to study mortality among employees with workplace conditions closer to those of the present day. The cohort also offers the opportunity to study 50,000 women in the petroleum industry. We will provide an overview of results for men and women and discuss how interpretation takes into account the strengths of this methodology and its limitations (such as the healthy worker effect). We will also discuss the uses of information gained from such studies and the importance of communicating findings to employees and others.

Learning Objectives:
1. Identify the reasons for conducting mortality surveillance of occupational cohorts 2. Explain the company's surveillance programs in North America 3. Describe the cohort characteristics and overall results of the recent mortality analysis 4. Discuss the caveats for interpretation of such studies, with emphasis on the healthy worker effect 5. Discuss uses of the data from such studies and the importance of communicating the results to employees and others

Keywords: Occupational Surveillance, Mortality

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am an epidemiologist who has worked in an industry epidemiology department for 16 years. I have lead the occupational health surveillance most of that time and have conducted numerous studies of employee health.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.