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Uses of computer-generated maps in occupational hazard and mortality surveillance.

Frazier-TM; Lalich-NR; Pedersen-DH
Scand J Work, Environ & Health 1983 Apr; 9(2):148-154
Types of computer generated maps used in occupational hazard and mortality surveillance and their uses are reviewed. The general purpose of the NIOSH surveillance system is described. The application of computer generated maps to descriptive epidemiology is discussed. NIOSH maps that generate surveillance systems by identifying counties in which the workforce has a high potential for exposure to occupational hazards are presented. A data file is employed that was developed by a survey of 4,500 industrial sites throughout the United States in which all observed exposures to specific chemicals, trade name products, and physical agents were recorded as potential hazards. A commercially available computerized file that describes the characteristics of about 4.7 million American industrial facilities is also employed. Using this linked data base, county maps are generated that approximate the geographic location of work sites having a high probability of worker exposure to a selected industrial hazard. Five types of maps have been developed: maps showing counties with work sites similar in classification to those where a specific agent was observed during the industrial survey; maps showing county location of workers exposed to a specific hazard; maps that estimate the proportion of workforce potentially exposed to a workplace hazard; maps portraying the proportion of workers per hazard at the state level; and maps displaying cause specific county mortality rates. Each type of map is discussed and illustrated. Uses of the maps singly or in combination to generate occupational health surveillance systems are described. The authors note plans to increase accuracy, completeness, and usefulness of the maps.
NIOSH-Author; Mortality-rates; Workplace-studies; Health-hazards; Occupational-hazards; Exposure-levels; Epidemiology; Industrial-hygiene; Occupational-exposure; Author Keywords: chemicals in the workplace; computer mapping
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Journal Article
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NIOSH Division
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Scandinavian Journal of Work, Environment and Health