Online Program

Chronic disease: NIOSH's focus must be on occupational exposures that cause and contribute to chronic disease and ill health

Wednesday, November 4, 2015 : 12:46 p.m. - 1:02 p.m.

James Frederick, MS, Health, Safety and Environment Department, USW, Pittsburgh, PA
NIOSH’s long-term vision for its Total Worker Health program is an integration of occupational safety and health protection with health promotion programs in the workplace. Health promotion programs include those aimed at improving healthy behaviors such as tobacco use cessation, increased physical activity, and improved nutrition. However, occupational exposures place workers at increased risk for tobacco use, poor nutrition, lack of exercise and other risk factors for ill health. It has been estimated that 50,000 to 60,000 workers in the United States die each year from occupational disease, including cancer and cardiovascular disease. Further, the 2002 NIOSH publication written by the National Occupational Research Agenda workgroup, "The Changing Organization of Work and the Safety and Health of Working People," reported on a growing body of literature documenting adverse health and safety impacts from changes in work organization such as lean production, downsizing and extended working hours. Given NIOSH's statutory authority, and given the epidemic of occupational illness and death from chronic work-related disease, this presentation will assess the critical need for NIOSH to expend its limited resources on assisting with the elimination and reduction of occupational exposures that contribute to workers' ill health and harm their well-being.

Learning Areas:

Chronic disease management and prevention
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Occupational health and safety
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Public health or related laws, regulations, standards, or guidelines
Public health or related organizational policy, standards, or other guidelines

Learning Objectives:
Describe workers' chronic diseases and ill-health that is caused or contributed to by occupational exposures to harmful chemical and physical agents and work organization factors. Discuss work restructuring programs such as lean production, and research linking these programs with harmful impacts such as work-related musculoskeletal disorders and cardiovascular disease. Identify workplace exposures that can contribute to workers' use of tobacco, poor nutrition, and lack of exercise. Analyze NIOSH's unique role in identifying workplace interventions that would eliminate or reduce unhealthy work organization and occupational exposures causing and contributing to workers' risk of experiencing chronic disease.

Keyword(s): Occupational Health and Safety, Wellness

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have studied and worked in the field of occupational safety and health and industrial hygiene for over twenty-five years. As Assistant Director of the United Steelworkers International Union's Health, Safety and Environment Department I have investigated and presented testimony on workers' chronic occupational disease. I currently serve on NIOSH's Board of Scientific Counselors.
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.