244138 Illness and injury surveillance at the United States Department of Energy

Monday, October 31, 2011: 10:30 AM

Bonnie Richter, MPH, PhD , Office of Health and Safety (HS-10)/ GTN, US Department of Energy, Washington, DC, DC
Clifton Strader, PhD , Office of Health and Safety - HS-10, US Department of Energy, Washington, DC, DC
Elizabeth Ellis, MS, PhD , Center for Epidemiologic Research, Oak Ridge Institue for Sciend and Education, Oak Ridge, TN
Phil Wallace, MBA , Center for Epidemiologic Research, Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education, Oak Ridge, TN
The U. S. Department of Energy (DOE) oversees a unique industrial complex with diverse activities in energy research, nuclear security, and environmental restoration. Potential workplace exposures include radiologic, chemical, and physical hazards. The Department monitors the health of this workforce through its Illness and Injury Surveillance Program (IISP). DOE requires that all workers who are absent 5 or more workdays (or equivalent workweek) due to illness or injury report to a site occupational medicine clinic prior to returning to work. This information is used by the IISP to assess illness and injury trends. More than 131,000 workers at 15 participating sites are covered by the program. Rates for occupational and non-occupational illnesses and injury are calculated by age, gender, and occupational groups. Over a 10 year period (1999-2008), 92,506 absences (of 5 or more workdays) have been reported by 38,257 workers. These absences resulted in 129,685 medical diagnoses. Three disease categories accounted for nearly half of all diagnoses: respiratory, musculoskeletal conditions and injuries. Cancer accounted for 1 percent of the diagnoses. Chronic health conditions such as hypertension, diabetes and musculoskeletal conditions have increased. As a result, our data show that workers reporting high blood pressure or diabetes had 8 times the number of lost work days than those who don't. These adverse, yet preventable health trends impact the number of days workers are absent, health care costs, worker productivity, and ultimately the ability to complete the Department's varied missions. Surveillance data can provide data to support corporate wellness programs.

Learning Areas:
Occupational health and safety

Learning Objectives:
1. Describe DOE’s injury and illness surveillance system. 2. Compare rates among leading causes of illness and injury in DOE workers in an industrial complex. 3. Analyze how age, gender, illness and occupation impact absenteeism among workers over time.

Keywords: Occupational Surveillance, Workforce

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: the Senior epidemiologist at DOE and I provide the Department with its expertise in occupational epidemiology
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.