270746 Musculoskeletal Disorders and Co-morbidity Study of Railroad Locomotive Operators

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Eckardt Johanning, MD MSc , Occupational and Environmental Life Science, Albany, NY
There is a paucity of studies related to occupational diseases and co-morbidity of US railroad engineers and conductors because of several factors. In part, railroad (RR) workers have their own disability and injury claim system (FELA). In this pilot study the medical findings were reviewed and tabulated for a descriptive statistical analysis of RR workers who were part of a clinical disability assessment. Selected results were compared to a control group with similar demographics and other US national statistics. The study group (n=79) consisted of railroad workers (majority locomotive engineers) from major US railroads . The RR worker showed higher rates of low back, neck and other morbidity compared to the control group. The weight and BMI was well above the US national average and higher than the control with a mean of 100 kg and a BMI of 33. Comparing the results to the latest national obesity trends with about one-third of U.S. adults (33.8%) being obese, 91 % of the RR workers were overweight and 63 % were ‘obese' at the time of their evaluation. Of the examinees 64 % were hypertensive at the time of the evaluation. About 1/3 of the examinees had spinal disorders, hypertension, diabetes and obesity. This pilot study of disability claimants showed a high rate of co-morbidity related to musculoskeletal spinal disorders and other important health status abnormalities. Further disability health data analysis of this at-risk group appears to be indicated to assess prevention opportunities.

Learning Areas:
Chronic disease management and prevention
Clinical medicine applied in public health
Occupational health and safety
Other professions or practice related to public health
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
Describe morbidity and medical surveillance data of transportation workers identify possible prevention opportunities

Keywords: Occupational Injury and Death, Adult Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: Occupational and Environmental health physician, board certified in Preventive/OE medicine, Family Medicine, Master in Community Science, - conducted health monitoring and surveillance examinations,collected data and conducted health studies of railroad workers over several years as reflected in my publications (see medline)
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.